(navigation image)
Home American Libraries | Canadian Libraries | Universal Library | Community Texts | Project Gutenberg | Children's Library | Biodiversity Heritage Library | Additional Collections
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)
Upload
See other formats

Full text of "The deck of the Crescent City;"



THE 



^?^Kl 



DECK OF THE CRESCENT CITY 



PICTURE OF AMERICAN LIFE. 



WILLIAM GILES DIX. 




NEW YORK: 

GEORGE P. PUTNAM & CO. 

1853.' 



H 



H8U« 

e4 






USKkKY 









0< 

/ . /.I 



Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1853, by 

WlLLUM G. Dix, 

in the Clerk's OflSce of the District Court of the District of Massachusetts 



CAMBRIDGE: 
METCALP AND COMPANT, 

PRINTERS TO THE UNIVERSITY. 



THIS VOLUME IS CORDIALLY INSCRIBED 



KICHARD H. DANA, 

An American, who, had he lived in England, would no 
doubt have added himself, by copious fruits of meditation and 
fancy, to the illustrious line of great English poets, but whose 
life, being cast in a country not ripe to enjoy " divine philos- 
ophy," and its 

" perpetual feast of nectared sweets, 
Where no crude surfeit reigns," 

has been one of comparative silence, yet whose deep-toned 
harp breathes into many ears inspiring cadences, and grieves 
hearts also with the sure conviction, that, in time to come, the 
stifling of such music will bring upon the land more just igno- 
miny than can be compensated in honor by all the swift yachts, 
patent locks, six-barrelled revolvers, steamships without bow- 
sprits, and metropolitan hotels, that can be invented between 
now and the Day of Judgment. 



JoMK 



^OMfZ. 



PREFACE. 



The larger part of this volume was printed 
nearly a year ago, but was thrown aside from 
dissatisfaction, and with the intention to recon- 
struct the whole from the beginning. The book 
has been recently resumed and finished, accord- 
ing to the first plan, with as deep a consciousness 
as ever of its defects of style, but with no essential 
distrust of its general sentiment. The specula- 
tions upon the purposes of Young America will 
seem to follow the public cry, but they were in 
print before the phrase became a byword. 

Cambridge, January, 1853. 



THE 



DECK OF THE CRESCENT CITY. 



On the day when a steamship arrives at New 
York from Chagres, bringing a freight of gold- 
dust and news of more to come, the national 
symbol may be said to appear, expanding his 
wings from the Battery upward as far as one can 
ride for sixpence ; — and that is a long space, 
for a man from the interior of the State or of 
the Nation, being at the mercantile head-quarters 
of his country, may enter one of the vehicles, in 
which six persons may look six others out of 
countenance in a short time, while a seventh 
intruder is threatened with a lasting obliqueness 
of sight, from having no one directly to stare 
at, and being obliged to divide his regards be- 
tween two faces, each but half opposite to his, — 
the stranger may enter one of these bulky boxes, 
1 



2 THE DECK OF THE CRESCENT CITY. 

at the corner of a street, far below zero, and 
thence may be jolted noisily to the neighbor- 
hood of number fifty. There, paying the fare, 
he may stumble out of the equipage with glee, 
supposing that he must have been mistaken for 
the passenger who entered but two streets below, 
and who, he imagines, will have to foot the bill 
of his cheap excursion. Thus pleasantly dis- 
posed, he may walk back leisurely, finding in 
the windows of the shops an ample scope for 
what the transcendental sages would call objec- 
tive amusement. The purchase, at auction, of a 
watch, or of a few articles of jewelry, may alone 
convince him that New York has less remunera- 
tive uses for rustic capital than riding in an 
omnibus. 

The presence of this immense eagle enlivens 
the whole city, and every nerve that centres in 
the brain of Wall Street thrills beneath the ex- 
hilarating touch of the air. Speculative ardors 
are peculiarly enkindled, although there is, daily, 
much speculation, interesting to one party or the 
other, and sometimes to both. Practical gen- 
tlemen, who never express opinions of enter- 
prises until they see their tangible fruits, poise 



THE DECK OF THE CRESCENT CITY. 6 

thoughtfully some of the heavy yellow crumbs in 
their hands, and pronounce the Californian ex- 
citement to be a very respectable affair. 

Every feather of the eagle trembles with ec- 
stasy, his eyes look like two planets visible at 
noon, and his screams of delight are audible for 
miles. He is not content to remain stationary, 
but, compressing his form, makes use of the gal- 
vanic wires, and flies over the country, declaring 
everywhere the receipts of gold, and the discov- 
ery of new mines, which last continue to be 
very productive in the public journals, until pas- 
sengers are engaged, and their fares paid, for 
the next steamer bound for the Isthmus, when it 
sometimes falls out that their value is less than 
was at first reported. 

The eagle dilates his size at frequent inter- 
vals in his journey, to the pleasurable amazement 
of the people. His rays make the whole air 
shine wherever he goes ; eyes look up enchanted, 
and the brains to which they convey the news 
of his arrival are also fired with the splendor. 
When the wires fail, he condescends to use the 
slower conveyances of steam, and occasionally he 
perches himself upon the top of an old stage. 



4 THE DECK OF THE CRESCENT CITY. 

"where he gleams like a sun, on an excursion of 
pleasure. He employs editors to convey his 
news where he cares not himself to go, and he 
rewards these faithful deputies with his bright 
smiles, and sometimes with likenesses of himself, 
set in gold. As he passes over roads, embroid- 
ered with fields of wheat, the husbandmen shade 
their eyes from the reflected glare of their 
scythes, and looking up, perceive the cause of 
the dazzling light; then, suspending their toil, 
they repair to the nearest inns to hear the last 
intelligence from the mines. The stagemen are 
always proud of their outside passenger, who, 
shouting and shining in his revelry, startles every 
neighborhood with his brightness and noise. 

Finally, on completing his luminous circuit 
over mountains, lakes, and rivers, he repairs to 
the Falls of Niagara, to remain there until an- 
other arrival summons him away. He enthrones 
himself high among the vapors, which rather in- 
crease than dim his effulgence, and he buoys his 
immensity in a way unknown. He expands his 
wings so widely, that one may reflect the first 
beams of the sun, and the other the last, ex- 
tending his left wing over the Atlantic sea, on 



THE DECK OF THE CRESCENT CITY. 5 

account of the unequal width of land to be over- 
spread. Thus imperially placed, he looks with 
some scorn on the unproductive, watery glories 
beneath, makes the arch of inwoven rays of 
mercy, truth, and beauty his footstool, mingles 
w^ith the ascending music his shrill cries of gold ! 
gold! gold! and acknowledges, with ceaseless 
vibrations of his glittering beak and fiery eyes, 
the adoration paid to him by innumerable bend- 
ed knees or prostrate faces. 

Multitudes now ponder the design of searching 
for the rich treasures, of which such brilliant 
promises have been lavished abroad, indorsed by 
actual success. Every generous or selfish mo- 
tive for accumulation is excited, and all purposes 
for which money can be spent to purchase pleas- 
ure are entertained by the fancy. Every social 
rank and every calling feels its degree of the 
reflective influence. The Western hunter, taking 
up the last journal that has reached his secluded 
abode, and reading its alluring intelligence, lays 
aside his faithful rifle, with which he has hunted 
the swift and graceful deer, that, startled by his 
rustling step in her quiet solitude, has cast one 
vain glance at the clear brook at her side, and 



6 THE DECK OF THE CRESCENT CITY. 

then fled, for safety, to the depth of the tangled 
forest: he resolves to go in chase of the gold- 
bearing quartz. The farmer, visiting his brown 
acres, and seeing how slowly springs up the 
grain which he has planted, reflecting how much 
rain and sunshine must fall upon the earth, how 
much toiling culture he must himself expend, 
before the sheaves will stand before him, good 
sentinels against the scourge of want, determines 
to change his farm to a geological investment of 
another kind, more portable, and yielding quicker 
dividends. The fisherman, who has labored dili- 
gently with his hook and line for the lively, shining 
treasures of the " Banks," deems it well to visit 
the banks in the opposite section of the continent, 
which yield a discount to persistent spades. The 
keeper of the shop is ready to forsake his Cash- 
mere vale of luxurious goods, visited by lovelier 
guests than ever breathed the air of Persia, con- 
cluding, after many sighs, that it will be as cap- 
tivating to sift gold through iron sieves, as to 
receive it, with the bright usury of smiles, from 
hands that make the lilies envious. 

The young lawyer, who has opened his ofiice 
to adjust family quarrels and other disputes at 



THE DECK OF THE CRESCENT CITY. 7 

fair prices, but who finds that legal brethren, 
as briefless as himself, instead of clients, " come 
in" at his call, — who may have made his first 
plea in trying to save his flesh-colored library 
from the jaws of an execution, and may have 
written fewer lawyer's letters than he has re- 
ceived, — feels inclined, after summing up his 
case, to promote the sovereignty of justice and 
his personal fortune in California. The surgeon, 
of narrower ministration than is comfortable, who 
keeps his instruments ever bright, that, when 
required, they may work brilliantly, believes that 
it will be philanthropic to exert his skill, now 
lying fallow, in the relief of much unforeseen suf- 
fering in the new settlements, being certain that, 
if he cannot apply the lancet to the vital courses 
of other people, he can, at least, use a pickaxe 
on the harder veins, that supply many wants of 
life. The clergyman, knowing that his appropri- 
ate province lies wherever men are found, if, 
while valuing truth supremely, he disallows, by 
his example and his word, the reclusive sanctity 
which frowns on doing good to men ; feeling that 
the love of God, the germ, however sadly worn 
by time, of the Atlantic settlements, should not 



8 THE DECK OF THE CRESCENT CITY. 

yield wholly to the love of gold, the principle of 
the Pacific State, prepares to depart with the 
crowd, that he may help in guiding aright the 
luxuriance of a nation's rugged life. 

Beside the delegation from New York in every 
steamer for Chagres, and others more or less fa- 
miliar with the city, strangers arrive from every 
quarter, who have never seen the Atlantic metrop- 
olis before, except in their dreams, when it has 
appeared about as large as all the capitals of Eu- 
rope together, and the famous fountain in the Park 
has thrown its waters so far and high, that they 
are sure it must be seen for many miles at sea. 
Sight surpasses their previous fancy, and some one 
more astounded than the rest may really conclude 
that no larger city ever was or could be built on the 
face of the earth, and he may wonder why people 
should still think of extending it. After much 
attentive walking about, they return to their inns 
at a loss whether they are distracted or enchanted, 
but, as it costs something to reach the city and to 
stay in it, they incline to beheve themselves pleas- 
urably excited. The city regards her rural ad- 
mirers with very little of the astonished rapture 
with which they gaze upon her. 



THE DECK OF THE CRESCENT CITY. 9 

The strangers and residents, who intend taking 
passage for the Isthmus, whether familiar or not 
with steamships, have a presage of the trouble of 
embarking, which is fully met when they reach 
the neighborhood blackened by the vast moving 
tower. The host of excited people there seems 
like one great human monster, very uneasy and 
trying to move in diverse ways at once. The 
consciousness of being vexed is the only pledge of 
personality. The tumult discomposes every man ; 
and the strongest nerves, as in other panics, draw 
to the extent of their available tension, and the 
weakest follow the usual course in such cases, and 
do as they can. Most of the passengers are of 
the enterprising kind of people who have never 
learned to move slowly, and ask of others no favor 
but to make room ; and that often in tones far 
from courtly, that grate on sensitive ears. Reli- 
ance on self is their ruling star, and any resist- 
ance to its spell sets their energies on fire. 

The whole structure is marvellous to eyes that 
may never have beheld such things, except when 
an over-indulgence in distilled harvests may have 
summoned images of terror before the couch 
of satiety. The passenger, especially if he be un- 



10 THE DECK OF THE CRESCENT CITY. 

used to such scenes, fears, from the prevailing 
hurry, that he will be too late, and, in his reckless 
apprehension, he may seize roughly hold of the 
first man without a coat whom he meets, and ask 
him if he be a porter, or one of those useful as- 
sistants may prevent such rudeness by a volun- 
tary proffer of service, for a price. His trunks 
and boxes, containing, beside his own property, a 
few small parcels committed to his care for friends 
in California, lie in confusion before him: the 
crowd presses by in nervous haste ; some indi- 
viduals, fixing their eyes on the goal more than on 
the way, stumble over his heap of baggage, and, 
springing up bruised all over, glare at him fierce- 
ly, and add unlovely expressions ; losing his control 
over himself, in his despair, he gives a quarter of 
a dollar to each of three little staring colored boys 
iftar him, either from a vague belief that the gift 
will facilitate his affairs in some magical way, or 
simply as a token of his manly faith in the unity 
of the race ; he thinks that he hears the wheels 
moving, and that he may as well turn and go home ; 
but the porter has already in his arms a part of his 
luggage, and now he has a new trouble: he is in 
doubt whether to go with him, and see that he puts 



THE DECK OF THE CRESCENT CITY. 11 

safely on board the goods that he has taken, or 
to stay, guarding what remains ; there is no time 
for delay; he intrusts a valuable trunk to a man, 
who may be a pattern of every moral virtue, but 
whom he never saw before, and watches for him 
to return and take the rest of his equipment, that 
he may reach the deck at last, if he can, with no 
immediate responsibilities behind. 

At length, after reaching the ship, he pays the 
porter's fee with a sunny suavity that adds to it 
one third more value, arranges in his dark but 
snug quarters the goods and chattels which he 
allows to himself for the voyage, sees the rest 
stowed in a close and gloomy prison, and having 
thus gone through his part in the lively drama, 
with much silent applause from himself, he as- 
cends to the upper deck, and strives to appear as 
quietly as if his only motive for being there were 
to study humanity under excitement. He looks 
with thoughtful complacency upon the struggling 
crowd below, playing a much involved game of 
cross-purposes ; and, puzzled out of his senses as 
he w^as, and having drawn them back by main 
force only, commends his superior presence of 
mind, and feels like a hero who has been in the 
wars. 



12 THE DECK OF THE CRESCENT CITY. 

Now composed, he removes the perspiration 
from his face, and takes from his hat the daily 
Journal, which he bought at the steps of his hotel 
from the young vender, whom he counselled, with 
a genuine interest in his health, to soothe his voice 
with some emollient compound, which the youthful 
speculator promised, if he could have a double 
price for his paper ; and, on his suggestion being 
kindly met, moved away with his coppers and 
other extras, shouting his intellectual wares more 
hoarsely than ever. 

He begins to read the discourse of the editor, 
aiming to show that the members of the Execu- 
tive Cabinet, so far from feeling any jar in their 
consultations about the national welfare, resemble, 
in their attachment to the good of the Republic, 
the spokes of a wheel ; not one spoke being 
crooked, out of place, or unfavorable to the 
adjustment of ways and means by which the 
wheel of state revolves easily, swiftly, and musi- 
cally along the path of manifest destiny. 

Soon finding that his attentive power is less 
than he supposed it to be, he looks up and around, 
and on the paper again, which is now turned to 
an ocean of discord, where ideas united once, and 



THE DECK OF THE CRESCENT CITY. 13 

treating of unity in others, are wrenched out of 
shape, and dislocated spokes, tires, and hubs cross 
each other every way, while national destinies, 
passengers, trunks, iron houses packed in boxes, 
like sections of sea-serpents, to be put together 
again elsewhere, steam-engines, editors, and con- 
stitutional advisers, are beaten about, as if they 
were contending with a tornado from one quarter 
and a Gibraltar current from another. To sober 
his brain, he folds up the paper, puts it in his hat, 
and looks about on the deck. The spectacle of 
the thronging men, having in the main a common 
destination, but of various traits and motives, sug- 
gests to him many thoughts on the new tide of 
popular excitement. 

If young men are Young America, there are 
many members here of that ideal community 
of persons, who can have little concert with 
Young England, if this brotherhood be really de- 
signing to restore the Middle Ages, and to bend 
the world again to the pressure of the feudal 
yoke. The most cordial American admirer of 
that period would hardly wish to retract from the 
world's history the name and voyages of Colum- 
bus, or even those of the less noble Spanish ad- 



14 THE DECK OF THE CRESCENT CITY. 

venturers who came after him, and to revive the 
civil, social, and sacrificial polities of the Aztecs 
and of the Incas, with the wilder usages of the 
aborigines, more rough and red, dispersed in 
regions farther north. 

During the Middle Ages, the only monastic re- 
cluses in America were the vast forests, which, 
clad in emerald vestments, an order of their own, 
or in brown, or pearly white, bowed their sup- 
pliant heads in unison,, and sighed their prayers 
upon the whispering winds ; while the sun, the 
abbot of the order, paid his matinal and vesperal 
homage, kneeling at daily consecrated altars, 
flaming with every kind of precious radiance, in 
the eastern and western chancels of the abbey of 
the blue horizon, and devoutly proffered, through 
the duteous hours, his service of refulgence ; the 
choristers, that chanted the breviary of gladness, 
with no days of sorrow interspersed, were the 
fathers of mighty tides, the waterfalls radiant 
with mist, the lakes, seas, oceans, striking the 
keys of instrumental shores, and the birds, war- 
bling in the seclusions of their oaken screens ; 
the only illuminated missals were the leaves of 
autumn, signals of the years that, crowned with 



THE DECK OF THE CRESCENT CITY. 15 

glories, die patiently by frosty pain, that other 
years may spring to life ; the only rosaries were 
the changes which the faithful seasons told in 
the vigils of their journeys ; the only adoring 
incense was the fragrance flung from floral cen- 
sers, waving with voluntary motion in the air ; 
the only consecrated bells that summoned nature's 
agencies to worship were hung high in towers of 
dark, shadowy clouds, and their great tongues of 
awful sound were made to beat by chains of fire ; 
the only pilgrimages were made by crowds of re- 
joicing winged life, from regions invaded by win- 
ter to shrines of constant summer ; the only wars 
and tournaments were those of scattered savage 
tribes, for every residence of earthly beauty that 
man once sees he is sure to mark with blood. 

Young America seldom glances to those ages, 
•called dark by many, chiefly because neither the 
streets of the cities, the aisles and altars of the 
churches were lighted by inflammatory gas, nor 
private houses in the same way, or by explosive 
fluids, occasionally fatal to people who desire 
the lightest light the lightest age can give ; and 
because the meditative men, who lived by breath- 
ing the oppressive air, supposed to have over- 



16 THE DECK OF THE CRESCENT CITY. 

spread the world then Uke a huge black mantle, 
through which the stars looked like eyes of tigers 
seen through the grim tempest of a tropic night, 
— because these men, not being all their days 
intent on means to render this life excessively 
convenient, sometimes made fantastic flights of 
logic, to define the feats of sprightly angels, it 
passing notice that these vagaries occurred in 
the course of contemplation on sublimer matters 
than concern '' this punctual spot," and that 
thoughtful men, even now, might divine the 
antics of equally volatile and gymnastic spirits ; 
as, for instance, how small a force of that much 
adored archangel, steam, would send five hundred 
human beings into the air, to a height of eighty 
feet nine inches, allowing but one twentieth of 
the number to come down alive ; or how many 
of those singing seraphim revolvers, patented 
by fatherly governments desiring to please their 
playful children, would shoot every tenth man in 
the street ; or how many of those flashing cherubs, 
bowie-knives, would decimate the rest of the 
citizens with their sharp wings, the recipients of 
the angelic goodness to be speedily borne home 
to gentle wives and prattling children. 



THE DECK OF THE CRESCENT CITY. 17 

Whatever the members of Young America may 
think of "- laws and learning," they would not 
respond, " Let trade and commerce die"; and 
they hold not in special honor the " old nobility " 
of any time or country. The whimseys of these 
hasty words of youth should be forgiven, since 
they signify a spirit that deems not the strife 
for riches the divinest thing on earth. If there 
be here no prerogatives of birth, and but few to 
wish them to be kept, wherever they may be, at 
the hazard of humanity, yet, if the " old nobihty " 
of Philosophy, w^ho draw revenues of wisdom from 
tenantries of thoughtful years, bequeathe to after 
times estates rich in the castles, parks, and fertile 
acres of Truth, and store the treasures of medi- 
tation in palaces of crystal beauty, bright wdth 
the gathered rays of every nation's mind ; if the 
royal host of Imagination, gleaming with sceptres 
and diadems of grace, informing nature with spirit- 
ual glory, from this single earth to every sphere, 
of steady or of twinkling beams, which Science 
through pure convexities can see, or with construc- 
tive figures build in space beyond the reach of 
sharpest aids of sight, breathing throughout the 
air entrancing harmonies, setting the histories of 

2 



18 THE DECK OF THE CRESCENT CITY. 

nations in immortal gold, and changing the lives, 
toils, passions, Avoes, defeats, and victories of men 
into glad or sorrowful shapes of beauty, quivering 
with the pulses of conceptive mind ; if this peer- 
age, wearing coronets at the court of queenly 
contemplation, and this enthroned regality of light, 
receiving homage from the loyal ages, are to be 
despoiled of their rights and domains by legions of 
reckless Enterprise, — then let that Vandal and 
his crew begone, to work harmless ruin in un- 
shapen chaos, and distract no more this august 
and beauteous Universe. 

Thus far the spirit of the West, had she a 
voice, sighing among the noises of machinery 
and the screaming of steam-whistles, not for a 
place to think, for there is room enough, but for 
the liberty of thought and fancy's flight, would 
echo the protest, meant uprightly, but expressed 
with heedless heat, against an age irreverent of 
aught but transient and material good. 

If it be of little moment whether or not men be 
on the way towards Heaven, if they can but cross 
the ocean in a Aveek ; if Art must yield her prov- 
inces to the sharp, colored outlines of Geology, 
resembling rainbows exploded usefully into heaps 



THE DECK OF THE CRESCENT CITY. 19 

of disorderly and awkward angles ; if the affluence 
of Eternity can suggest no Epic or Dramatic ca- 
dences, because men have no time to be inspired 
by other muses than can sing statistics, or descrip- 
tions so exquisite that it shall be harder to see 
the picture of the mazy verses than to follow the 
shyest differential sign through starry labyrinths 
of space ; if it is to be a traveller's chief object 
here to know the cost, color, and dimensions of a 
flaming steamer, plying up and down the Mississip- 
pi, glorious for wrecks, until her turn shall come to 
explode magnificently, or to die breathing fire, to 
begin again and continue longer, — or to estimate 
the exact quantity of water pouring over Niagara 
in a minute, and to apply a measuring-line to the 
most striking points of view ; or if people are to 
travel in the old hemisphere in the sunlight and 
shadow of nature and of history, using their per- 
ception only, unmindful that the chief use of the 
voices and of the visible splendors of the globe 
is to widen and deepen reflection, to refine the 
imagination, and to fasten the tendrils of the 
soul more closely to the Throne above ; if the 
surveyor of the line of a projected railroad is 
to be the highest reach of man ; if Heaven 



20 THE DECK OF THE CRESCENT CITY. 

itself is to be set forth as a noisy Paradise, 
where subUmated ship-builders and engineers 
contrive and effect their plans to the minstrelsy 
of chanting saws and warbling locomotives ; if 
classical times, or any ages of mental splendor, 
are to be laughed at, because no iron tracks were 
then spread over the earth, the veins of a more 
easy than exalted life, or vessels, shaped like 
winged wedges, to cut the surface of the ocean 
swiftly, or to sink, if they must, gently and con- 
veniently ; if victorious yachts are to enjoy ova- 
tions, and toiling scholars to be denounced as 
idlers ; if that is to be emblazoned as the holiest 
miracle of time, which subjected plebeian, dingy 
coals to such inspiring heat that they were just 
ready to turn, shrieking with the fiery pain, to 
white, angelic diamonds ; if it is to be the fortieth 
article of faith, that the House of Glass, though 
taken down, will be put together again, and be 
transported visibly by seraphic battalions, clad, for 
compliment's sake, in the attire of all nations, to 
the fairest island of the blest, to amaze for ever 
the illuminated saints, who consider ornamental 
furniture superior to intellectual grace or spiritual 
beauty ; if every flower of the spirit is to be with- 



THE DECK OF THE CRESCENT CITY. 21 

ered by the deadly day of energy intent on lifeless 
things ; — then welcome again the lunar splendor, 
moving orbs, and golden suns of night. 

From east to west, from wxst to east, may 
the resistance to usurping powers grow, until the 
true sovereignty shall regain her rightful throne 
and sceptre. Then, after a century of longer pu- 
pilage, the imagination here shall be ready to ex- 
alt her pinions to the Sun, and more appreciative 
thanks shall be felt and given for the intangible 
but precious dowries that now sustain the new 
world's mental life. For 

Whoe'er shall o'er the snowy Andes roam, 
Shall find Cervantes near those heights at home. 
No name of splendor shines upon the page 
Of Spain, diffusing light from age to age. 
But there, enthroned o'er vales of beauty, lives, 
And Avith the majesty of nature strives. 

So he, whose ashes, guarded well, repose 
Near where the illustrious Avon's current flows, 
Is not his native land's alone ; — his name 
For that, for this, for the whole world we claim. 
Men's souls, true magnets, his attraction know ; 
Cold hearts, submissive to his ardor, glow ; 



22 THE DECK OF THE CRESCENT CITY. 

Sad spirits aloft with his wings gaily soar ; 

Scholars prefer his voice to Roman lore ; 

The sober quaff his full and Hvely cup ; 

His silvery tones make Mammon to look up. 

The bank of reason ; treasury of sense ; 

Imagination's empire ; fancy's tents ; 

The fire of eagles' sight ; eyes of the dove ; 

The passions' armory ; the bowers of love ; 

Reflection's temple ; nature and the world. 

Standards of light upon man's march unfurled ; — 

His willing cadences such duties serve ; 

Faint, weary wills his liberal muses nerve ; 

Motives, in hosts, coursing, like eagles, high 

In the horizon of humanity, 

Wheel their swift, thronging flight his presence 
near, 

The inciting, glorious melodies to hear. 

Which, sovereign bard, he sings, enthroned sub- 
lime, 

To nations listening in the halls of Time. 

Many, who ne'er a royal crown have seen. 
Attend the Court held by the Faery Queen, 
Where spread the holy rays from Una's face. 
The chosen mirror of most saintly grace ; 



THE BECK OF THE CRESCENT CITY. 23 

While valiant knights press to the martial hall. 
To answer, each, to memory's shrill roll-call. 
Triumphs of honor and of valor won, 
Fair deeds of goodness, wTongs and errors done, 
The moral virtues wdiich in man should dwell. 
Their lessons teach, in falls of music, w^ell. 

Glow thick, bright leaves of Transatlantic bays 
With laurels offered to his worthy praise. 
Whose spirit, bereft of its organic sight. 
Coursed, like yon Sun, in more ethereal light, 
Visions sublime as those of prophets saw, 
Or those when thunders heralded the Law. 
Before him oped the gates of God's abode ; 
And glaring spheres unblest perspectives showed. 
His wand anew made sinless Eden spring. 
And o'er unruly Chaos set a King, 
Conducted seraphs to converse with man. 
Ere from chief help his bitterest W'Oe began. 
Summoned to the ear adoring minstrelsies. 
And choral sounds of hissing blasphemies. 
Depicted every archangelic grace, 
Satan's defiant and malignant face. 
Made hearts beat quick, portraying fearfully 
The Trinal Throne of Trinal Deity. 



24 TUE DECK OF THE CRESCENT CITY. 

His well-wrought temple throughout time shall be 
The home on earth of heavenly harmony, 
Till o'er the globe no floods of wrong shall pour, 
Till men benighted see the dawn once more, 
And when their errors shall to naught have waned, 
Breathe life divine in Paradise Regained. 
Would that men ever lived, content, like him. 
Dear sight to feel to beauteous nature dim, 
Hearts broken, too, by contumely intense. 
Through fervent work in Liberty's defence. 

The bold, untutored tinker's regal beams 
The sleeping soul awake with dawning dreams. 
Through iron bars glowing the way to show. 
How shackled hearts may truest freedom know ; 
How men of grief may be with gladness blest, 
And pilgrims weary reach a place of rest ; 
How falls repeated may give strength to fly. 
And rivers dark lead upward to the sky ; 
How to the poor may richest boons be given. 
And sons of earth inherit holy Heaven. 

Here no renowned and ancient Abbey springs. 
Where Fame exultant spreads her golden wings 



THE DECK OF THE CRESCENT CITY. 25 

O'er names of those who noblylived, or died, 
The sons of Britain, but the whole earth's pride, 
Yet many a one who ne'er may see that shrine 
To what in man is nearest to divine, 
Nor thoughtful o'er its honored pavement stroll, 
May have a '^ poet's corner " in his soul, 
And storied names and deeds of glory there 
May presence more than memory's record share. 

Here pensive tears from many eyes are shed 

O'er the sad name of Missolonghi's dead, 

Grieving so soon was quenched his brilliant ray, 

So early set his intellectual day. 

His home ancestral, desolate, intwined 

With splendors heavenly bright, set forth his mind. 

Not broken wholly by time's constant flood. 

That stately, old, and hallowed structure stood. 

Various benignant graces there allied. 

Dispensing beauty, ranged on every side. 

Till crumbling walls to tempered glory grew ; 

Windows, once stained with every holy hue, 

Now richly shone with sober stains of time 

And verdure mixed, emblazoned by the prime. 

In corridors, low, suppUant echoes still 

There seemed to breathe, sonorous chimes to fill 



26 THE DECK OF THE CRESCENT CITY. 

The measured air abroad ; again the shrine 
Summoned the worship of the time benign, 
When to the gorgeous chapel's roof ascended 
The choral hymns with clouds of incense blended. 
As if the poet's very soul had known 
A glorious life, which since afar had flown, 
It now, renouncing former sacred use, 
Resigned to revelry's unkind abuse. 
Subdued the passions' yoke of fire to wear. 
The kneeling, lowly heart most wanting there, 
Inspiring, noble in its ruins, showed 
Likeness to that once consecrate abode. 
On such must woes in heavy numbers press. 
Too much distraught for household tenderness. 

Rightly he knew his art's true province well, 
Less with the outward universe to dwell. 
Than man's informing nature to rehearse, 
Less inventories to compose in verse 
Of flowers, as if the fragrant textures frail 
Were to be offered plausibly for sale. 
Or to frame timid couplets soft to cheer 
And please a pensive maiden's twihght ear. 
Than to man's conscious, eager sight to bring 
His beating heart, its energies to sing. 



THE DECK OF THE CRESCENT CITY. 27 

Hence, tho' with grievous wrongs and woes beset. 
He holds his firm, majestic station yet. 
Hence, searching eyes can find no worthier one, 
To fill the five, that Chaucer's name begun. 

Sank suddenly a graceful spirit to sleep. 
Beneath Italia's angry, frowning deep, 
Who, thoughtful o'er the mysteries of life. 
Turned sunny youth to stern, discursive strife, 
To solve the reason, in a world so fair. 
Of evil, cankering, darkening all the air. 
Striving in vain to see the cause apart 
From deep perversion of man's wayward heart, 
Upon his doubting way he wandered far 
Beyond the radiance of the eastern star, 
And gasped his life away, too soon again 
To find the path of surest faith for men. 
He wrought and erred, desiring human good ; 
. Let mercy trust, that, rising o'er the flood. 
He dazzled out his unbelievino; nio;ht 
In sudden brightness of unending light. 
The more a man is he who seeks for day. 
Than he who sighs not for Truth's open way ; 
An erring mind may be by grace forgiven, 
A stagnant soul can have no place in Heaven. 



28 THE DECK OF THE CRESCENT CITY. 

Others, with life's full, genial compass blest, 
Like setting suns, yet linger in the West. 
The living bards may seas of blessing lave ; 
May brightest dews adorn the mountain grave, 
And fragrances perennial bless the bowers. 
Where contemplation ruled the tranquil hours ; 
May the glad music of the running brook. 
The gaily rustling leaves that on it look. 
The merry birds, joyous cascades, unite 
A strain of sorrow in their full delight 
For him who used, with thoughtful feet, to press 
The paths of earth's secluded loveliness. 
May wafted memories of a peaceful life. 
Remotely spent afar from constant strife. 
Blessing the air, for ages long endure. 
May every figured thought, exalted, pure. 
Refresh the heart, stifled by earthly dust. 
And brush away obscuring, sordid rust. 
May the sure presence of a right intent 
Sorrow allay that vigor was not bent. 
With zeal more urgent, and Avith impulse bold. 
To grasp man's heart, and keep the nervous hold. 

May the* time past suffice for deeming man 
The mere appurtenance to nature's plan. 



THE DECK OF THE CRESCENT CITY. 29 

When, without him, Creation's wide domain 
Is but a waste of beauty spread in vain. 
To be the fixture of this large estate 
Answers not man's divinely ordered fate : 
When earth began, he was its viceroy made. 
And so shall be, until the earth shall fade : 
For man were lifted these high azure walls ; 
For man were garnished these mosaic halls ; 
For man melodious voices here are heard ; 
For man sprang order at the Maker's word. 
Not in the dusky distance meant to stand, 
Man claims the foreground from the painter's hand. 
Not Nature's menial, but her titled guest, 
With fadeless orders glancing on his breast. 
'T is not the time to adore the varied gleams 
Of lakes and mounts, of stars and tidal streams, 
When living souls of living men repine 
For the quick, living touch of fire divine ; 
Or life derived, an idol, to revere, 
When that life's spring, the living God, is near. 
The subtile law of space, where'er it flows. 
Claims not to be the Sovereignty, but shows 
Itself the mirrored force, the shade to be, 
The ethereal minister of Deity. 
Hence not for homage has erected been 
This vast cathedral, but to worship in ; 



30 THE DECK OF THE CRESCENT CITY. 

The rays which o'er its domes and altars gleam 
Are symbols, not the soul, of Power Supreme. 

May the new, strenuous world and cultured old 

With every year more vigorously hold 

Each other, firmly hearty hands retain, 

Binding around the voluntary chain. 

Though civil bonds roughly sharp swords may 

sever. 
May ties of loyal mind endure for ever, 
And every heart with joy due honors pay 
To England, empress of our mental day, 
The favorite isle of all that billows know, 
The shining lamp where nations learn to glow, 
For glorious years, as she hath been, to be 
The Mount of Light, caged in the northern sea. 

But many noisy teachers of Young America, 
friends of Epicurus, who, were he now alive, 
would not be seen reposing in the shade, from 
dawn to sunset, listening to music, and fanned 
by fragrant airs, but rather, seated in his damask 
easy-chair, in a spacious and elaborately furnished 
hall, would gaze throughout the day on lively, 
painted plans of new steamers, of clipper ships, and 
of crystal palaces ; — these teachers who carefully 



THE DECK OF THE CRESCENT CITY. 31 

instruct infants i^i the chemical mysteries of acids 
and alkalies, when they prefer to know less theo- 
retically of sweets, — who would eagerly turn uni- 
versities into schools of the profits, and snatch the 
sceptres from Homer and David, to melt them into 
current coin, — who think that a nation has no 
more need of a literature, than, in their view, the 
universe has of a God, since the only divinity for 
whom they can see any use in this world or in any 
other is one who can inspire men with the desire 
and the way to gain the most riches in the shortest 
time ; — these teachers would persuade Young 
America that the architects of crystal palaces 
above called forward to testify to the value of the 
heart of man, now in fearful peril of forgetfulness, 
were but indolent outlaws, the pests of the state, 
worthy of no honor except from the bewildered vis- 
ionaries who consider them as the true milestones 
of a nation's progress, the sighs incarnate of the 
moving ages, and who point to crumbled empires, 
which have in such persons their chief titles to 
remembrance ; since the great modern empire be- 
lieves that it would have been better for the world 
had they never been born. As easily might the 
fruits of the earth be ripened under the cool benig- 



32 THE DECK OF THE CRESCENT CITY. 

nity of an iceberg as large as the sun, and in its 
place, as the immortal fruits of song grow to full, 
luxuriant maturity in this icy air. The earth must 
feel airy heat, before it glows with beauty. The 
muses never pitch their tents on frozen seas. 

These instructors find something to respect 
even in the Middle Ages, — the search for the 
mysterious power to turn coarse materials to gold. 
Recent centuries have applied the secret ; and, in 
various quarters of the globe, establishments have 
been provided for the transmuting process. The 
men whose eyes grew dim and their heads bald, 
while they searched every nook of the world of 
science for the precious principle, meant less to 
bend it to worldly uses than to discover a mighty 
force of nature ; and they were not conscious 
that the agency which they sought with weary 
pain was already in their minds, and guided 
their hands ; for it was not less or more than 
Speculation, which, in these later ages, transferred 
from ideal provinces to the field of life, is fast 
subduing the solid globe to gold. Human hands, 
presses, saws, hammers, wheels, steam, carbon- 
ic and electric fire, gases, light, forests, rivers, 
substances, and ethereal properties have been 



THE DECK OF THE CRESCENT CITY. 33 

changed by the magical fingers of this speculation 
to tangible and heavy gold. Most of the cru- 
cibles are coarse, but some are delicate and large 
etiough to hold life's amenities, courtesies, and 
loves, laws, learning, the arts, sciences, philoso- 
phies, governments, social policies, the hopes of 
good on earth and heavenly bliss, — and these di- 
verse things, melted by the hot zeal of speculation, 
come forth a translucent stream of beautiful, profit- 
able gold. There is reason to think that Young 
America, living where the practice of this alche- 
my is most assiduous, pays no hearty allegiance 
to the creed, that the only Deity is Mammon and 
his only Prophet gold, and but waits, until his 
heart shall beat more freely, until the eagle that 
he loves to see shall lend the fire of his eye, and 
until his arm shall knit its strength together, that 
he may put forth his gathered force, which ten 
thousand engineries shall not make to swerve, and, 
shrinking St. George's conquering might to the 
feeble quivering of an infant's arm, to grapple 
with the Dragon-Creed ; and that, having struck 
down his beastly shape, he may trample on his 
sordid neck, until the howling brute shall cast up- 
ward unconscious, dying eyes, while shall ^g;a§JL . ^ 

% 



34 THE DECK OF THE CRESCENT CITY. 

forth his nauseous blood, and the earth shall drink 
in, with mingled grief and joy, the loved libation 
which she first infused with life into the monster's 
veins. 

Young America is also taught to deride, as 
proofs of a vain and dark superstition, those move- 
ments in the Holy Land, the chief glory of the 
Middle Ages, which have not been shaded, since, 
in import or in magnanimity, however greatly in 
final success, by any conflicts whatsoever, and 
which, by nerving the spirit of resistance which 
turns defeats to victories, may have ultimately 
spared, not only Europe, but even this broad con- 
tinent, from the conquering march of the Arabian 
Imposture. Columbus might have been born a 
Mohammedan. But 

The conflicts in the Holy Land, 
To rescue from the usurper's hand 
The sacred Sepulchre, may then 
More justly valued be by men. 
When shall an aim sublimer break, 
Like dawn, and Christendom awake, 
AVhence Tiber, doubly classic, flows. 
To where o'er northern Isis glows 



THE BECK OF THE CRESCENT CITY. 35 

The Cross, and e'en to Russia's snows, — 

When these, with learned Germany, 

And Santiago's earnest cry, 

Greece, with ecclesiastic fame, 

Decking the lustre of her name, 

The brawny North, chivalric France, 

The youthful Western Eagle's glance. 

Each Power in either hemisphere 

That holds the Christian title dear. 

As guardians shall the Faith defend, 

And wisely zeal and purpose blend, 

And then for ever shall expel 

The Crescent of the Infidel, 

The usurping symbol which bestows 

Its insult where blest Siloah flows. 

And shall to Christian rule restore 

The land, where poured the Cross before 

Abroad its sacred streams of light, 

To guide the nations through the night. 

May brave demands of Christian men. 

Not flashing arms, be potent then, 

And victory bless a still Crusade 

Of Christian Truth and Christian Aid. 

When shall be gained the priceless boon, — 

May Heavenly Goodness haste it soon ! — 



36 THE DECK OF THE CRESCENT CITY. 

The too long sundered East and West, 

No more by variance hard oppressed. 

Saint Peter's majesty transformed 

By hoUer patterns, nobly warmed 

With better zeal, and thus aUied 

With Saint Sophia's purified, 

If not by fervent scourge of cords, 

By resolute, unyielding words. 

Saint Paul's, the northern star and tower. 

Granting due measure of her power. 

The great divisions, Wesleyan, 

Genevan, with the Lutheran, 

All Christendom, renouncing wrong 

And errors which to schism belong. 

Shall to the blessed Triune Name 

Mingle in joy a full acclaim. 

Then in no cities secular. 

Not in the halls of Constantino, 

Not in the city of the Czar, 

Not Caesar's lordly Rome within. 

Not in the isle of Saxon light. 

Not in the land of Saxon might. 

But in Jerusalem alone. 

Shall they the Holy Faith enthrone. 

That from Mount Zion's height may shine 



THE DECK OF THE CRESCENT CITY. 87 

Radiance benignant, full, divine. 

While shall all tongues and realms obey 

The sceptre of the Church, whose sway 

The central sun of grace shall be, 

Till Time becomes Eternity, 

Till trembling Nature's strength shall fail, 

And suns and stars grow faint and pale, 

Dying to gain celestial birth 

And usher in New Heavens and Earth. 

More recent Crusades have taken place, of 
which the New World has been the stage, to pro- 
cure from the rocky sepulchres of the earth the 
chief foe of salvation, a mineral more precious 
than the '' price of blood " which occasioned the 
armed pilgrimages to Palestine. In these later 
movements the sons of Spain have been pioneers, 
and have borne the chief part. The prizes of 
their adventurous valor were vast regions, rich in 
gold and silver, in tropical fruits, in the splendors 
of perennial Spring, in atmospheres of luxurious 
mildness, in serenest valleys and in highest moun- 
tains, in islands as fair as the fairest visions of the 
fancy, in fertile plains, higher than many lofty 
peaks across the sea, beneath skies as blue as the 



88 THE DECK OF THE CRESCENT CITY. 

ocean, in bounteous streams, in new varieties of 
grain, in forests of interwoven growth untouched 
bj the hand of man since the first green blade 
sprang up at the inspiring breath of Heaven, in 
pastures where flocks need no shelter, but can 
graze quietly through the burning hours of the sun 
and beneath the soft effusion of the stars, in birds 
of so various and brilliant plumage, that one might 
imagine the very bow of promise that spans the 
earth, to prove the blessedness of showers, since 
their fatal day, to have become instinct with vocal 
life, and to send up, with fluttering ecstasy of 
hues and motions, a congregation of winged har- 
monies, to mingle with the singing orbs above, in 
the resounding chorus of creation. These estates 
of beauty and of profit, the discovery and improve- 
ment of which were the glory of Spain, and the 
chief wonder of the time, have since passed from 
the hands of their first conquerors into the hands of 
victorious revolters, except one, the last insulated 
witness, testifying that consuming draughts of ava- 
rice, sweet to the taste, but bitter to the heart, are 
the surest mode of suicide for nations. Portions 
of the affluent paradise thus eagerly won and long 
retained, have come, through independence and 



THE DECK OF THE CRESCENT CITY. 39 

defeat in a war of neighbors, into the power of a 
race of men, who seem bent to fulfil what their 
emigrating ancestors lacked of the lust of conquest, 
even at the risk of being impelled by motives to 
which their fathers would have applied the old le- 
gal phrase, the instigation of the Devil. 

If eloquence is rightly to be judged by its ef- 
fect, it is worth an inquiry, whether in the records 
of human speech can be found an instance of ora- 
tory more effective than the simple announcement 
of the wealth of California made by the enthusias- 
tic Peter the Hermit, who inspired the last Cru- 
sade to the paradise of gold, which, alluring Span- 
ish adventure across oceans, mountains, the rapids 
of rivers, and burning plains, through thick, dark 
forests, receded, after brief glimpses, from eye and 
hand, until, like a coquette, wearied with ever en- 
couraging, ever denying eager suitors, and fear- 
ful, as they grew less, of final neglect, yielded at 
last to be won incidentally in no direct search of 
the prize. That personage exemplified Demosthe- 
nic action, for while his lips proclaimed abroad the 
blessing to the world, his busy hands showed em- 
phatically forth his meaning, while he procured for 
himself a due share of the sacred deposit. With 



40 THE DECK OF THE CRESCENT CITY. 

these lively, significant movements, the brains, 
hands, and feet of the community felt a vehement 
sympathy. As the highest sign of eloquence is, 
that men think and talk earnestly of the ideas 
which they have heard, more than of their rhe- 
torical attire, this herald bore a wonderful likeness 
to the great Athenian, the noblest comment on 
whose skill was the determination to march against 
Philip. This crowded steamer, and others larger, 
prove how efficient was that cry of joy, when vast 
numbers of listening Americans looked into each 
others' faces, and shouted, " Let us go for the 
gold ! " Thus began the Crusade, in which Dem- 
ocratic Sovereignties alone partake, and of which 
the secondary results will very greatly outweigh 
the best special success. 

This migratory current is shown to be not whol- 
ly mercenary by the large number of young men 
whom it conveys from shore to shore. Others, in- 
deed, no longer young, may have submitted to 
the tide from motives the most upright and hon- 
orable ; the experiences of life may soften as w^ell 
as harden the heart, and the selfish coldness seen 
in a score of years may melt into genial kindness 
when three times that period have fled. Never- 



THE DECK OF THE CRESCENT CITY. 41 

theless, in the code of poetical justice the miserly 
blight is ever imputed rather to the yellow than to 
the ripening grain. Any social or political move- 
ment which eminently attracts the presence of 
youth, must have some characteristic really noble, 
or Avhich skilfully counterfeits nobleness. Usually, 
it is not until gray lines begin to appear upon the 
head, that people join that congregation of ardent 
worshippers, who pray inwardly, if not with their 
lips, for the coming of the blessed millennium, 
when sentiment and magnanimity shall be discard- 
ed as outlaws from human affairs, and when the 
world shall be given over to the tender mercies of 
Political Economy, that demon from the pit, that 
would gladly tear up, as pernicious weeds, every 
fragrant charity that blooms in the garden of life. 
Youth has many qualities of note. For instance, 

Known is it well, that castles in the air 
Chiefly are built by youth, and are a kind 
Of architecture much decried as vain 
By blatant dulness, and as of no order. 
Except it be disorder ; — for all that. 
Castles in the air may often rightly claim 
Abundant honor, when the hearty will 



42 THE DECK OF THE CRESCENT CITY. 

Strives earnestly to make the cloudy forms 

Substantial ones on earth : for who can point 

To any firm, enduring monument 

Of Art, of Power, of Good, that was not first 

Simply a tottering castle in the air ? 

The theory of the renowned La Place, 

Whether it answer the true mode or not 

Of starry mechanism, figures at least 

How airy atoms of Invention grow 

To solid spheres of Facts, which, set on high. 

Like suns beneficent, illume and guide 

The circling ages. On full many a spirit 

Have rested, like vows registered in heaven, 

The duty and the purpose to achieve 

Some manly thing before its latest breath. 

Observant of this brave, mastering intent, 

In still abstracting hours, specks of design 

May have been sown in fields of air ; 

It could not be foreseen at first what shapes, 

In time's advance, the nebulous germs would 

take. 
Labor and thought, those faithful artisans. 
Standing in stead for every plan of men. 
May have concentrated and moulded them 
To revelations of new continents, 



THE DECK OE THE CRESCENT CITY. 43 

Or of organic, primal laws, deduced 
From chaos of the vast unknown 
By the resolving chaos of the mind, 
Findino; at leno!;th consummate order most. 
In its constructive self and worlds without. 
Where roughest, dark confusion seemed to dwell, 
Or to decisive victories of Truth 
O'er Error's legions, or of Liberty 
O'er hosts of tyrant's hirelings, — to Statues, 
Paintings magnificent, Temples sublime 
Outliving races of meek worshippers, — 
Or to Imperial diadems of gold. 
Or to Pontifical tiaras, or 
Dramatic constellations. Epic suns. 
How drearily the world would on have rolled. 
Making its annual journey, and how like 
A penance would the life of man have been. 
Had God no other charioteers e'er given 
Than imitative men. Visions of youth. 
Although greatly disdained and set at naught, 
Have oft exactly been fulfilled ; and then 
The merry scorners looked more grave, and sued 
Humbly for peace, and through their lives thence- 
forth 
Obeyed the bidding of the theorists. 



44 THE DECK OF THE CRESCENT CITY. 

More beneficial to their day and race 
Have the derided visionaries been, 
Than all the vapid satirists of time, 
Who laugh at building castles in the air, 
Which, being the calhng on which others turn. 
The spring of action and the guide of toil. 
Justly may busy those who cannot live 
To serve their private benefit alone. 

To shaping airy forms of future plans 
The hours of youth are not confined. The gift 
On youth may be conferred, no quality 
Stolen from heaven, the true Promethean fire, 
Determined toil, which, to the hardest flints 
Turning the clods of earth, can strike from them 
And the hard iron of the strenuous will 
Undying sparks, like brothers of the stars, 
Those sparks of gorgeous fire, struck by the hand 
Of God from chaos, to give light to men. 
And show the true divinity of toil. 
Toil gives to rude machines both eyes and hands, 
To see and do its will, ploughs fields of space 
And the swift ways of time Avith elements 
Obedient to the yoke ; toil interweaves 
Smooth words and rough in golden cloth of song, 



THE DECK OF THE CRESCENT CITY. 45 

And marshals bricks In Pyramids that keep 

Boldly their ground, on the chessboard 

Of war gains earnest victories, gently 

From the earth draws harvests up, from hands of 

kings 
With might unanimous Great Charters wrings, 
Turns stony quarries into gossamer. 
That, lifted high, looks e'en too frail to hold 
A weary bird, yet not by blasts of ages 
Blown away. Toil freedom wins in conflicts hard. 
Then on the freed soil builds up Commonwealths, 
The walls of Error batters with Truth's wand. 
And Christian temples rears in Pagan lands. 
The rod of labor from the solid rock 
Can call refreshing deeds to strengthen men. 
Such is the miracle, and varied more. 
Vouchsafed to toil, man's guardian and his guide. 

Youth is life's Eden, where young, hovering joys 
Flutter with golden wings, where warbling hopes 
Attune the spicy air, where showered dews 
Of myriad fancies pearly splendors cast 
O'er flowery paths, Avhere lucid founts of thought 
Pour glancing rills abroad, where arbors throw 
A frequent, pleasing shade, where sunny vales 



46 THE DECK OF THE CRESCENT CITY. 

With harvests glow of present sweet delights. 
While o'er each hill the entrancing future dawns. 
Oft sudden mists arise and veil the sun. 
And tears attest man's heritage begun. 
Amidst the abounding beauty lurks the foe. 
Who can soft names and airs serene assume. 
Oft is some Eve the root of evil, or 
As oft the fairest, choicest good that breathes. 
The dwellers here long for the hastening hour, 
When they shall leave this transient Paradise ; 
And, when it comes, with joyous steps and free 
They run to reach the moving crowd before. 
Which having o'ertaken, and the newness gone, 
Panting and sad they strive again to taste 
The treasure left behind unprized, — in vain. 
Unless the hope of an immortal youth 
The heart shall lift above its sea of care, 
And gardens of unfading love and bliss 
Alluring fragrance breathe throughout the air. 

In early years quick, startled thoughts arise 
At every rustling noise which Nature makes, 
As on her sleepless guard she walks her rounds. 
The sun, in triumph journeying from the east, 
The captive Queen of Night, secured by chains. 



THE DECK OF THE CRESCENT CITY. 47 

Downcast and pacing with slow feet afar 
Behind his flaming chariot, the band 
Of subject warriors following her sad steps, 
Attired in twinkling robes, hold fast the sight 
Of childhood, wondering whence the bright ones 

came. 
The changing vesture of the advancing hours. 
From the soft, rosy richness of the morn. 
To the proud, jewelled splendor of the noon. 
Then to the gold brocade of sunset time. 
To twihght's robes of matron comeliness. 
To night's dark velvet, with its glistening pearls. 
The briUiant singing-birds, perfumes of flowers. 
The flying insects, the white, falling snow. 
The bubbhng drops of rain, the jagged lines 
Of lightning, the besieging thunder's crash 
Against the sky's dark fortresses, excite 
Mysterious questions which the child solves not. 
The shade of grief, a bitter glance or frown. 
An infant's face, answering each loving smile, 
Tears, voices, looks, the name of Deity, 
The wayside incidents of life, awake 
Early reflection, but the after strife 
Stifles the powers reflective in the most, 
Until the inexorable usher comes. 



48 THE DECK OF THE CRESCENT CITY. 

And, calling out each name in turn, opens 
The sombre portals of the boundless halls, 
Where souls must enter in with bending awe, 
And think for ever. 

Youth may be borne o'er seas 
Where harpies of the mad, vindictive winds 
Excite the waves to foaming rage, 
To lands where trampling crowds toil and make 

merry 
O'er graves of Empires. Beneath arches high 
Of the great edifice which Time has built 
To keep his treasures from oblivion's air 
A little while, youth to the tones 
Which that swift architect, touching the keys 
Of History's organ with his fingers cold, 
Brings to the ears of men, listens attent. 
Ever and variously those notes resound. 
Now are they chants of worship, wailings now 
O'er ravages of famine, plague, or war. 
And now^ the clangor loud, that calls pale cheeks 
To battle, to be flushed with angry zeal 
In the thick fight, exultant strains of peace, 
The song of triumph o'er defeated foes. 
Sweet pastoral melodies on mountain-sides, 



THE DECK OF THE CRESCENT CITY. 49 

The sighs of trampled men beneath the strides 
Of hard Ambition's unrelenting march ; 
The martyr's faithful and triumphant song 
In flames that kiss, like Judas, to destroy ; 
Voices of men turned frantic fiends to hurl 
The globe's best works to ruin ; laughing scorn 
At a" weak nation's lowly plea for right ; 
Outrage of subjects 'gainst a tyrant's crime ; 
A people's thanks to a deliverer given ; 
Freedom's glad symphonies, that softly breathe 
Contentment, peace, allegiance to good laws, 
Valor in causes just, and hope in God. 

O'er ridges of the past, youth looks on ranks 
Of shadowy kings, on gorgeous capitals 
Forsaken, upon realms once full of men, 
Where beasts now stalk o'er broken palaces ; 
On armies great to battle's clarion deaf. 
To start from their still camps alone when called 
To gather on a field where more than crowns 
And kingdoms are at stake, — their once bright 

swords 
Now black with rust, and engineries decayed, 
And the arms that wielded them retreated now 
Into strongholds of frail and feeble dust ; 



50 



THE DECK OF THE CRESCENT CITY. 



On towers that challenged thne's assault, and fell. 

Unequal to the persevering fight ; 

On shrines to idols, built by people false 

To truth and law, and holy temples too. 

Whose roofs of gold dazzled the sun, prostrate 

By power retributive for daily guilt ; 

On sages who w^ould solve life's mysteries. 

Gone, with their systems, to solve death itself; 

On mounts, where the ancient deities no more 

In council meet ; on sciences displaced 

By waves of further knowledge ; upon robes 

Of fashion, with their wearers, laid aside ; 

On hopes fulfilled, and, with their fruitage, 

wrecked. 
And ghosts of fears, that worked their ill and 

died; 
On states crumbled by busy minutes, ants 
That help and break man's firmest structures 
here. 

And now a sun uprising showers such beams, 
That startled youth looks up and sees the heights 
Of future time crowned w4th the radiance new ; 
Past ills to glorious blessings there give way, 
To be, perchance, such curses, in their turn, 



THE DECK OF THE CRESCENT CITY. 51 

As liave distracted men ; the paths of life, 

O'er emerald slopes, like threads of silver, wind, 

With a rich garniture of roses lined, — 

The blended hues seem conscious of delight, — 

Yet may the paths be found, on trial, rough, 

The colored rays but painted on the air ; 

Each cliff is burnished with a golden light ; 

Peace, plenty, brotherhood, life's graces, there 

Live blest and blessing ; there no despots rule ; 

Nations sustain each other in the right ; 

No reigns of Terror charity affright. 

No reigns of Indolence have ushered them, 

For royal sluggishness a crime may be, 

So expiated that e'en Time severe 

Might stay his flight to drop a pitying tear ; — 

No armies of their captains emperors make, 

Good-will to men is owned the rule supreme. 

Youth counts on living such good days to see. 
Which, when they seem in beauty to have 

dawned. 
Sadden the heart, so soon upon the sight 
Delusion spreads the shadows of her night ; 
The golden light is seen but shining mist ; 
Foul wrong is robed in liberty's attire ; 



52 THE DECK OF THE CRESCENT CITY. 

And kings rule roughly, though without the name ; 

Brothers, in sport, are equal brothers called ; 

ISTations aid nations, mainly to secure 

The largest portion of the common gain ; 

While policies, not principles, prevail. 

And right and duty have no friends at court ; 

The progress hoped and toiled for is not made, 

A few short steps, but not the journey sought ; — 

Actions defeated by reactions, till 

From agonies and struggles hard result 

A few small scales of gold from heaps of ore, 

A few small pearls by myriad divers won, 

A few small spots of green in deserts great, 

A cup of water after seas of blood. 

But inch by inch, most wearily, toils on 

Humanity to reach her final crown. 

In mounts, the veterans of the tempests' wars, 
Youth sees earth's noblest majesty portrayed, 
And in the voices of the cataract. 
And of the white, ungovernable sea. 
Hears nature's deepest music, while is felt 
The breathing of strange presences in groves. 
Thus musing on the verge that nature keeps 
Of high, unknown infinity, youth walks, 



THE DECK OF THE CRESCENT CITY. 53 

As with the attendance of a guardian spirit, 
Among the monuments of human power, 
Deriving deeper wisdom from the search 
Of works of man by light from works of God, 
And deeper wisdom still from lamps divine 
At holy altars lit. 

Attended thus, 
Youth ponders on the famed historic plains. 
Where dynasties played their last stakes for life, 
And bold Ambition for one victory more. 
But lost the sceptre which it owned before. 
In stars for ever beautiful and young 
Youth sees its perpetuity set forth ; 
Youth fears instinctively the lonely dark, — 
Not what it knows of causes makes it bold. 
Youth notes the kinds and qualities of men 
In tones, in looks, in acts, in choice of words ; 
From fields of nature and of life youth reaps 
Full sheaves of observation, to supply 
The granaries of age with memory's food ; 
The hare youth captures for the feast of age. 
Imaginations, loves, sorrows, delights, 
Aims, eiforts, blessings, music, laughs with 

friends, 
Precious, inspiring words from lips revered, 



54 THE DECK OF THE CRESCENT CITY. 

The hopes of Avorlds where snows ne'er chill the 

year, ~ 
Youth keeps these all to exalt the heart, when 

falls 
No more the dew of fresh and early joy. 
The liveliness of youth by chance infused 
Into old messes of conservatism, 
Seething o'er furnaces made fiery hot 
By the fierce breath of men, is quick to make 
Its presence felt. Sometimes youth, restive 

grown, 
Tears up old governments, old boots in which 
Nations have walked until their feet are sore, 
Old documents, full of dead letters, or 
Of what should be, and leaves the broken pieces 
For careful age to make up o'er again, 
If so it can, or if it fail, then youth 
Supplies materials good for structures new ; 
Or youth may put its vigor forth to hold 
The trembling columns of the state upright. 
Which else might fall disastrously, and be 
In ruins anarchy or tyranny. 

The young men on deck, though ready to de- 
fend their country, or to fulfil her aggressive des- 



THE DECK OF THE CKESCENT CITY. 55 

tiny on the fields, forts, or wooden walls of war, 
have now less directly in view to overturn or 
to strengthen commonwealths, than to advance 
each his individual good. Since benefits un- 
consciously conferred are often the greatest, pri- 
vate success may aid the State as much as 
the most intentional patriotism. The wish to 
die for one's country, boldly expressed before 
the trumpet sounds for battle, may be less effi- 
cient than a quiet patriotism that thinks it possi- 
ble to love one's country, without making a spas- 
modic fuss about it at all times ; and, since the 
action of the government cannot always excuse a 
want of personal thrift and attention, if the chim- 
ney of the kitchen takes fire, an unrepaired de- 
fect in that vehicle of smoke and supererogatory 
flame may be as likely to be the cause of the 
trouble as an Act of Congress. 

Hard as it would be to define the diversity of 
motives contained in the general design to advance 
personal fortune, it is true that some of those on 
deck have been allured, by the fascination of Cali- 
fornian wealth, from places which, tried by the new, 
golden standard of prosperity, appeared to be of 
slow and meagre profit, in the hope to occupy their 



56 THE DECK OF THE CRESCENT CITY. 

energy in wider fields and those more quicklj and 
plentifully fertile, to be found either in the min- 
eral districts or in the commercial wants of the 
new population ; while others, having striven in 
vain, though long and earnestly, for posts of duty 
answering to their eagerness and strength, and 
wearied by the fretting chains of vigor impatient for 
due and appropriate exertion, resolve to enter the 
lists of competing toil in the new settlement, which, 
like the new election of a President, is regarded 
with prophetic joy, as affording lucrative niches 
for the winning side. In the history of others, 
reasonable hopes have been darkened and chilled 
by frequent and full eclipses ; and in the chalice 
of disappointment, ever pressing upon the lips, 
were mingled the bitterness of the past, the cold- 
ness of the present, and the blackness of the future ; 
but at length, even in their disconsolate ears, the 
enlivening angel of resolution whispered the mak- 
ing of one trial more to launch their hitherto dis- 
heartened labors on a brighter sea. Some, for 
the strangeness and excitement mainly, have re- 
nounced for a while the ceremonial law of fashion, 
and the inane or even the real urbanities of the 
drawing-room, or the splendid or ludicrous attire of 



THE DECK OF THE CRESCENT CITY. 57 

the masquerade, for the less dainty and more home- 
ly manners of the mines. Thus, even delegates 
from the upper ten thousand (for the lucky phrase 
has become a part of the people's English) of the 
metropolis are ready to doff their white kids, and 
to press on with the crowding million in the race 
for gold. Others, who have never disguised their 
humanity in fantastic robes, ransacking the past 
for the strangest dresses, who have led gay feet 
around in the merry movements only of the ru- 
ral dance, may have come hither with as warm 
and genial hearts as any that have beaten proud- 
ly beneath the feigned vesture of real purple and 
gold. In the case of others, the tendrils of exer- 
tion may have begun to fade and droop in the 
shade of uncongenial labor, and to give them sun- 
shine and a freer air, that they may grow to lib- 
eral strength and graceful manliness, may have 
inspired departure. Sentiment, also, roughly 
cased it may be, but beautiful as the soft and 
winning decoration of Spring, may have imbathed 
the soul with its fragrance, until from the warm 
suffusion may have grown the aspiration soon to 
fulfil hopes of tender joy, that the days, crowned 
with garlands of united love and duty, may pass 



58 THE DECK OF THE CRESCENT CITY. 

hand in hand along the great highway, where 
every step advances, or that aged feet may have 
a stronger staff, and the hoary head a richer bless- 
ing. Others, having aims held in little honor in 
their native land, but of highest praise in older 
nations, who have found the avenues to the light 
which they desire barred against them by sight- 
less ignorance or by sharp-eyed enmity, hardly 
conscious, with every effort, of making other prog- 
ress than that towards the grave, which needs no 
special pains, and, perhaps, having passed the age 
when men before have gained concession of their 
right, consuming their hearts in hours of reflec- 
tive agony, care not to what part of their vast 
house of bondage they may go, whether to the 
frozen poles or to the flowery tropics, since even 
little Denmark, narrow and dark a prison as it 
may have seemed, looks to their view like the 
broad, free palace of inspiring day, compared to 
the sullen dungeon which for them lengthens in 
solid gloom between the ridges of eternal, azure 
ice, that glare and crash in the stifi" solitudes of 
Arctic Circles. 

Some of the passengers, older as well as young- 
er, have counted the cost of the undertaking, as 



THE DECK OF THE CRESCEXT CITY. 59 

well as common report and the experiences of 
others have enabled them to do ; and, havmg 
■weighed the exposures of health and life, the chan- 
ces and results of failure, with the comforts and 
conveniences of success, they show by their pres- 
ence here the turning of the scales. Others, 
overwhelmed by disaster in affairs, are eager 
to make amends with fortune, where the dis- 
piriting pressure of the past shall not smother 
each timid purpose and reviving struggle. The 
downcast eye looks up, and sees better visions ; 
the heart beats more freely and lightly ; the foot is 
more conscious of its right to press manfully the 
earth ; the breast forbears the weary sighs of re- 
pining, and heaves with renovating and expanding 
aims. 

As, often, the spring of bravery, long and far 
renowned, is manly sorrow, mourning over thwart- 
ed hopes and fleeing from the foe that mines busily 
at the heart, to stand unterrified before the open 
storm of war, — some may also press to a land of 
nearly insane activity, that not instill, cold waters, 
but rather in the fiery ardor, of oblivion, may be 
lost the unspoken woe, which arms the memory 
with swords, and makes reflection madness. 



60 THE DECK OF THE CRESCENT CITY. 

Others have not been allured by vivid fancies 
of easy and sudden gains, but, daily tortured by 
the craving instances of those who vowed to be 
theirs '' for richer, for poorer," they have forsak- 
en homes which affliction, instead of wealth, may 
visit, while sordid wishes may yield too late to 
unavailing grief. Others, on the other hand, have 
set at naught dissuasive tears, tender remonstran- 
ces, the sunshine of true hearts, the dew of vows 
sincerely spoken and believed, present happiness, 
and worthy hopes, being resolved, against entrea- 
ties or distresses of others, or their own, to search 
the rocks and sands, not fertile in affection, how 
rich soever in gold. Others, moved by the thor- 
ough presence of love, obeying what sounds to 
them as the peremptory voice of duty, forsake the 
kind contentments of good and happy, though 
narrowly provided homes, with the firm intent to 
act, in every place, incident, and hour, with that 
most blessed combination, defiant energy informed 
by sacred tenderness. 

There is one, whose waning years are marked 
by his gray head, dim, ghostly eyes, and nervous 
tremor. Not arrayed in heavy armor, and with 
glittering lance, to meet his adversary at the tour- 



THE DECK OF THE CRESCENT CITY. 61 

nament, or his stern foe in battle, he is still a 
knight, but of Mammon's Court, worn in long, 
hard wars for pelf, and now going forth to put his 
sordid chivalry to proof in contending with the 
dust of earth for its small, shining particles. The 
alchemy of avarice has changed each motion of 
his soul into a thirst for gain ; and his perceptions, 
thus transformed, have made the very elements of 
nature to express his longing. Fire, the nurse of 
harvests in the dark chambers of their silent 
growth, but signifies the life and power of his vul- 
gar ardor ; Earth, as radiant with celestial beauty 
as the stars, to him who sees it with illumined 
eyes, betokens his unspiritual aim ; Water, which 
makes the pastures green, and fields of tillage fer- 
tile, — that hangs brooks, shining like silver chains, 
upon the brows of mountains, and encircles the 
world with oceans and with arches of every hue, — 
is to him naught but the swift conveyer of deeply- 
laden ships ; the wide, translucent Air, that images 
Supernal Providence, beneficently present every- 
where, denotes alone his craving spirit, that would 
tightly grasp and sternly hold the globe. No 
tender thoughts, hopes, aims, experiences, impara- 
dise his heart. His leaden soul never ascends on 



62 THE DECK OF THE CRESCENT CITY. 

the wings of thankful song, or on the ladder of de- 
votion, to the Holy Throne. No subtile or expan- 
sive science brings to him sublime delight, save 
that he deigns to think it crowns the inventive 
wit of man to have tamed the fiery lightning to 
convey, with his swift, glancing traces, the rise 
and fall of prices. With fearful meaning. Nature 
is to him " a universal blank." 

Not only rests a nightly shade on noblest hopes, 
which should be his, but the unholy spell upon his 
spirit is retrospective, and takes away from lovely 
memories their native beauty. The sportive 
shout, that made the very air playful with waving 
music, sounds in his recollecting ear like a shrill 
cry for gold ! gold ! The generous run, that sent 
the merry, winged blood flying through every vein, 
is changed into a scramble for unworthy pelf. 
Letters in the books of knowledge, losing their 
fair meaning, spell and decipher money. Early 
affections are enshrouded and invisible. The mem- 
ory of youth, the sanctuary of the heart's amenL 
ties, whither, weary and worn in the dusty, besieg- 
ing world, they repair awhile for a refreshing ref- 
uge, has yielded to the assault of the ruling passion 
of his after years, which, pressing rudely in, makes 



THE DECK OF THE CRESCENT CITY. 63 

the altar a sacrilegious throne ; and the soul 
thence gains no serenity for her upward flight, 
but a new incitement only to a low, ignoble 
race. 

His thoughts, occupied so long upon the mean- 
est purposes of life, should -be briefly spent, at 
least, upon the possibility of holy dying ; but, in- 
stead, they are sent, convoyed by troops of fancies, 
to the far, crowded mines, and their united speed 
no figure can depict. He is jeafous of those 
who have preceded him in the way, lest their 
gains should be his losses ; and he regards every 
face with rigor, as that of a designing rival. Be- 
guiling phantoms haunt the hours of this bright 
day, and Avhisper, glare, and glide about him, hold- 
ing his senses dizzied by their flashing, mazy, chat- 
tering spells ; and then they fly, leaving him imbe- 
cile and weak, as he who survives the convulsive 
touch of the lightning may awake and start up 
a vacant idiot. But this effect is transient, for 
again he sees outlines impalpable of golden w^edg- 
es, bars, and dust, thronging the dazzled air, and 
now his hungry hands move every way to seize 
them ; but they, elusive, change to milhons of an- 
gry eyes, bent full on him ; his hands shrink back 



64 THE DECK OF THE CRESCENT CITY. 

appalled, and he leans upon the side of the ship, 
faint with his sudden and exhausting dream in 
open day. 

Some, whose days of misfortune have been 
embittered by reproaches, instead of being soothed 
by the allowances o£ tenderness, humbly submis- 
sive to the will of God, yet manly rebels against 
the scornful, crushing will of man, resolve to ex- 
haust their energies in unfamiliar places, and to 
escape in busy, unobserving crowds the weight of 
bitter glances and upbraiding words. 

There is the gamester, who flies, like the hawk, 
from land to land, from river to river, from ocean 
to ocean, whithersoever he perceives his prey to 
go. Standing slyly apart, he casts his sneering, 
icy eye about, as if selecting those from whom, 
in hours of their reckless risk, he may gain by 
infernal artifice the fruits of long and arduous toil. 
The chords of his heart, which may once have 
quivered with natural kindness, have become one 
congelation of apathy ; for, as it has been recalled 
to the w^orld's mind, what is very apt to be for- 
gotten, that the criminal convict in his cell, whom 
society abhors, was, years before, a smiling, prat- 
tling infant, so the professional gambler, the Ish- 



THE DECK OF THE CRESCENT CITY. 65 

maelite of civilization, whose hand is against that 
of every man who will engage with him, may, in 
rosy boyhood, have trundled his hoop, read Robin- 
son Crusoe, and said his prayers, like good children 
generally. 

The fair name of enterprise cannot sanctify the 
mere lust of gold, yet, beside the field of usual 
avocations opened in every newly planted state, 
the direct search for the precious metals may be 
made as honorable as any form of mediate negotia- 
tion between the mine and the coffer. Whether 
or not any way of wealth be manly or miserly, de- 
pends less upon the way than upon the man who 
has chosen and pursues it. A justly meaning 
man is chiefly requisite to make any calling just. 
Men grown opulent from plethoric usury may 
shake their heads, and talk like philosophers about 
the regular paths of industry, when their poorer 
neighbors, whose competence may have gone to fill 
their chests, talk of visiting the mines ; but posi- 
tive laws, in some of the States, declare, with the 
heavy emphasis of pains and penalties, the way of 
wealth pursued by such advisers to be of a very 
irregular kind. When, also, divines, in churches 
of hewn stone made gossamer, and full of the col- 



66 THE DECK OF THE CKESCEXT CITY. 

ored splendor of the light, denounce to their rose- 
ate audiences the Californian rage, the question 
might sometimes be pertinently put to the rever- 
end oracles, cro^vned with prismatic diadems, 

■whether rich fortunes matrimonial are among the 
graceful means of wealth, which justifv a haughty 
severity of censure on God's hosts of striving 
poor, outside high Gothic walls. Much of the 
dissuasion may be most proper and timely, but it 
should not be spoken by such ones with arrogance 
and thoughtlessness. 

Some daintily refined people regard a poor man 
as having the same relation to humanity which a 
poor picture has to a gallery of the Fine Arts. Of 
the tortures, agonies, and temptations belonging to 
the want of riches, they have little thought, and 
they look upon poverty, not as being distressing 
and disheartening, but simply as being ungracefiU 
and inelegant. They wonder how any man or 
woman can show such a want of good taste as to 
be poor. In respect of the knowledge of life, 
they are of like mind with the royal lady of 
France, who advised giving the cake to the French 
people, when they were famishing and crying for 
bread. If the ills and needs of life be spoken of 



THE DECK OF THE CRESCENT CITY. 67 

in their hearing, they will allow them to be very 
sad, though thinking hardly of the thoughtless per- 
sons who have no more manners than to annoy 
their nerves with such things. Still, they have 
the languid charity to think that every person in 
misfortune has surely a reserved aid somew^here, 
in the cake-box or in the bank ; for they cannot 
imagine any person to be so completely broken on 
the wheel of fortune as not to have a small annui- 
ty left. At the mention of the Californian emi- 
gration, such people, of course, sneer audibly, but 
not so heartily as to disarrange the precision of 
their facial lines ; and thenceforth they discard the 
subject as being quite too low and democratic to 
divide their serious thoughts with the last import- 
ed mode of social manners or wath the next new 
opera. 

Happily for the exemplification of these royal 
ideas, there w^as detected, not long ago, in a dark, 
dusty corner of the great Western closet of the 
world, a gigantic box of cake, which had been 
locked up there for many ages. As soon as the 
discovery was made and known, multitudes of peo- 
ple, desiring a change of diet, without consulting 
monarchs, presidents, or lovers of the beautiful, 



68 THE DECK OF THE CRESCENT CITY. 

obeyed at once their sovereign impulses, and 
crowded away in immense steamers like this, in 
ships of all sizes, and almost in little boats with 
shingles for rudders and handkerchiefs for sails, to 
reach the prize and help themselves to slices, be- 
having in that action as moderately as their eager- 
ness and the variety of their dispositions allowed, 
though rather angry, once or twice, with some 
covetous foreigners, who, not content with waiting 
for a cake-box of their own, dipped their greedy 
fingers into their mess. 

There are no relics in California of the Old 
Painters or of the Old Saints, perhaps not many 
new representatives of either class. CaUfornia 
has no Rhines, Arnos, Tibers, so needful for gen- 
tlemen of taste, no Alhambras, Vaticans, or Pyra- 
mids. The Coliseum, with an awning spread over 
the top of its encircling w^all, would make a spa- 
cious inn, and a lucrative one, were its host to be 
some renowned projector of wonders in the realms 
of Art and Nature ; but that is not there, and 
nothing looks like it there ; and no Archimedes 
can be found, to devise the conveyance of the 
structure over two oceans and a sea, and around 
Cape Horn, where such a Leviathan of sinking sub- 



THE DECK OF THE CRESCENT CITY. 69 

stance might easily founder in a storm ; nor Avould 
the famous Mr Paxton undertake to transport the 
bulk which, had it been made of glass, would have 
been shivered by the arrows of the Vandals, even 
though the state, grateful for the increase of its 
lodging resources, should confer upon him, beside a 
solid reward, the rights and honors of the Ameri- 
can order of the flashing spread eagle of sunset ; 
a token of approval more strange, if less to be 
prized, than the surname of knighthood, destined 
to be his, and which would be Avorthily bestowed, 
but more gracefully, if, at the same time, another 
Englishman should receive such appreciation, — a 
man to whom England and the world are more in- 
debted than they could be for a hundred Crystal 
Palaces, whether, like this one, of glass that breaks, 
or, like the Russian one of which Cowper sings, of 
ice that melts, — a man as beneficial certainly as 
a minister of the crown, and whose writings are a 
Crystal Palace, where the sunlight of manly senti- 
ment and of playful fancy gleams through periods 
more clear and beautiful than plates of glass, and 
brightened by the moisture of pathetic dew. Com- 
mendable and great as is the skill shown in contriv- 
ing so vast and light an edifice, to be so various- 



70 THE DECK OF THE CRESCENT CITY. 

Ij filled, yet, when this New Curiosity Shop shall 
nearly have faded from the memory of men, eager 
eyes will continue to throng the Old Curiosity Shop, 
to pay their glistening tributes at the saintly shrine 
of early sorrow in its early grave. This, however, 
is an Age of Light, when great toyshops are built, 
intended to be taken down after six months of 
show ; not one of the miserable Dark Ages, when 
cathedrals were erected, to be taken down only 
after leases of thousands of years, or, if suddenly, 
by convulsions alone, that shake terribly the earth. 
The dignity of toil is not the new creation which 
it claims to be ; it was known of old, and its sub- 
limest exhibitions have ever been founded upon 
the rock. Long may Sir Joseph Paxton enjoy his 
laurels, fairly won, and long may exemplar Majes- 
ty outshine the jewelled crown ; but may it every- 
where be heeded well, that, while plates of glass, 
not being conductors of the electrical principle, 
may negatively aid the commonwealth, those men 
are positive pillars of the state whose spell can 
charm the lightning of the soul into brotherly 
kindness, and the bolts of anger into loyal chari- 
ties. 

But, as it was about to be said, in California 



THE DECK OF THE CRESCENT CITY. 71 

tbere are no "Westminster Abbeys, or likenesses 
of them, except in so far as the courtesies of life, 
which should be like open doors, demand a fee. 
Elegant aflSnities cannot be attracted towards a 
heathenish region, that has no catacombs, where 
the feet can wander through halls after halls whose 
sides are lined with ghastly, embalmed human 
shapes, a standing army of silent, spectral death, 
enrobed in dusky brown, like friars, as many of them 
were in life ; no grinning, Gothic faces, or heads 
of turbaned Saracens, carved in stone, which, if 
suddenly appearing to people unused to the daily 
sight, would send them hurrying, pale and trem- 
bling, to the shrine of the nearest patron-saint of 
any body for help ; no curious mosaics, express- 
ing sacred symbols or historic faces, less reverent- 
ly than the inner thought conceives ; no deceased 
dialects, with inexplicable inscriptions on their 
tombstones ; no desecrated paintings of holy per- 
sons, with miraculously moving eyes, or statues 
bleeding for the faithful at set times ; no red con- 
gelations, in mysterious vials, liquefying once a 
year ; no cenotaphs, of rosy spotted porphyry, of 
kings ; no ancient castles, with stains of the blood 
of slain favorites or ministers of state, yet opening 



T2 THE DECK OF THE CRESCENT CITY. 

red, revealing lips on stony floors. The presence 
of some despairing men, grieved at home, and with 
hopes of better fortune broken and wilted there, 
and dangling about their souls like faded garlands 
on the brow of a maniac, may help, indeed, to 
give that air of misery w^hich makes a country at- 
tractive and classical. 

Thoughts, w^hich, if set in the golden casket of 
expression, would shine as brightly as any rays from 
the mental stars that soften and illume the calm 
night of meditation, may visit many unknown and 
humble men, in hours of patient service ; for, in 
truth, all who have ever won the admiration of the 
world have been equalled, each in his special ca- 
pacity, by thousands of whom the world has never 
heard. Many such, with whom life's fortunes 
have gone hardly, as well as obscurely, have looked 
about them on wan cheeks and fallen eyes, and 
at the sight their hearts have gone down, as if 
they would not cease ; but those hearts have been 
lifted from wells of grief by the news from the 
Pacific shore, and the hope to see those pale, thin 
cheeks full and animate again, and those eyes no 
more dull and spiritless, has persuaded them to 
embark for the region of promise. Religion, that 



THE DECK OF THE CKESCENT CITY. 73 

loves and blesses the sad, weighing the needs of 
men in scales of charity, and sifting motives in 
her silver sieve, will encourage this decision or not, 
as she may wisely judge ; but Sanctimony, the 
usurper of her Crystal Throne, should have earnest 
care, lest she revile as mercenary feelings as soft- 
ly, brightly pure as any thing on earth can be, 
even as the tears that press upon the eyes of 
childhood, as they turn their last look upon the 
bending face of a mother, and then close, to open 
not again in time. Art and Learning, in broad 
halls, tapestried with books, or in gorgeous prisons 
of the willing senses, should not frown upon these 
men for desiring to change the living portraitures 
of sorrow into those of gladness, and sad moans or 
sadder silence into songs of ringing joy ; for to take 
off the weight from heavy hearts is as worthy and re- 
fining, as to wander admiringly through Tusculan 
villas, to trace, with Iliad in hand, the sites of Ho- 
mer's cities, or to listen Avith the cultured ear alone 
where Misereres bathe the soul in tearful ecstasies 
of sound, and beat with plaintive, holy waves, until 
responsive arches, altars, walls, and pillars throb 
with harmony and sorrow. 

But if the dispositions and motives of these men 



74 THE DECK OF THE CRESCENT CITY. 

be disdained by people who have been refined out 
of sympathy with their kind, let them be construed 
generously by those who know that the life of 
man has not yet been made a garden where he 
who wills may walk beneath embowering shades, 
to the music of perpetual fountains. The peculiar 
histories of every multitude of men would furnish 
momentous chronicles. Every heart, that has tal- 
lied its account ^of beating life from infancy to 
manhood, could supply an Epic with conflicts, victo- 
ries, and defeats. Magnanimity may reside beneath 
the sunniest bronze and coarsest texture, while 
hard cunning may prefer pleasant features and ap- 
parel of the latest mode. The best sensibilities may 
be seen in leaden caskets, and the harshest tempers 
may be set in gold ; and, also, it is true, that the 
courtesy of wealth may be a faithful sign of warmth 
within, and poverty may be made trebly poor by 
a suspicious envy, more arrogant than what it en- 
vies, and by a misers surliness and craft, that lack 
alone his means. 

Here may be some hearts too dry ever to re- 
ceive a blight, which cannot lose the mellowness 
which they have never had ; and others, as hard 
as the united hardness of all the nether and the 



THE DECK OF THE CRESCENT CITY. 75 

upper millstones which ever compressed corn so 
closely, that each grain cried out with protesting 
agony as it was ground to the nutritious dust. 
Avarice, displayed by people rich or poor, claims, 
properly, its dues ; with these let the moral ac- 
count be also met by full dividends of just re- 
buke and compound usury of scorn. But soft, 
fair violets may grow beneath the most corrupted 
tree. Upon this deck flowers may spring, as beau- 
tiful and as fragrant as any that ever sent their 
odors forth in greenest meadows ; here, too, may- 
be gnarled oaks, which hold their faded leaves 
tenaciously until the latest day of autumn, and 
then yield them with fear, lest they fall astray, 
and fertilize some other soil than theirs. Sub- 
lime and lovely natures, above the aim of the mi- 
ser, may be enshrined in wealth or in need. The 
golden, perennial beauty of the soul depends not 
on the outward mark. 

In the spirits of many here, memory may be 
a true sentinel of firm affections, of fervent joys, 
of tender sorrows, which, not content with being 
merely prisoners of the memory, press by the 
guard, in their haste to catch the very eye of the 
soul. 



76 THE DECK OF THE CRESCENT CITY. 

I. 

Now brighter than the splendor of the day. 
Which through the sky, with clouds impearled, 

is spread 
O'er emerald banks, the waters of the bay, 
The city great, the ship that longs to thread 
Her glancing furrows white, abroad is shed 
The brilliancy of wings by love allied 
To hearts by impulses of memory led, 
Towards shrines afar, where burning lamps 

abide, 
The guidance of whose light no seas or mounts 
can hide. 

II. 
O'er hills, on which the sun's saluting beams, 
And parting, smile and play entrancingly. 
O'er the blue, silvered, winding, rippling streams, 
Swiftly as eagles to their eyries fly. 
These visitants are borne with fervency. 
O'er forests deep, which ne'er the sunshine know. 
O'er fertile plains and homes of industry. 
O'er pastures with flocks sprinkled, valleys low, 
O'er fields where yellow waves of ripened plenty 
flow. 



THE DECK OF THE CRESCENT CITY. 77 

ITI. 

Rejoicingly the Earth looks up ^o see. 
That man still owns a portion of the dower 
Which once was his, when, with the accordancy 
Of birds and brooks, within her bounteous bower 
Of eastern bliss, where sprung each fragrant 

flower 
And fair that opes to taste the morning dew, 
She greeted him in his first, sinless hour, 
And for him daily more delightful grew. 
While imaged on her face shone every choicest 
hue. 

At homes, the chancels of earth's sacred 

places. 
Where are the rites with due observance paid 
Of life's adorning and attractive graces. 
The farewell pilgrimage of love is stayed. 
Each heart now folding memory's flying aid, 
With silent steps, unseen, unheard, descends, 
And, in the precincts of the cherished shade, • 
With saddening fears attended, lowly bends. 
While all the pleasant past with present sorrow 

blends. 



78 THE DECK OF THE CKESCENT CITY. 

V. 

They cling so eagerly and firmly there, 
That, of themselves, they cannot loose their hold, 
But Hope and Purpose, now approaching, dare, 
Joining their hands together, kindly bold, 
To lift the prostrate ones, and, then, to infold 
Their failing energies with manly force 
Of fortitude, whose patient arm can mould 
Faint hearts to mighty souls : by this resource. 
Nerved to return, they rise upon their airy course. 

vi. 
Their pinions falter with the weight of tears, 
Whose heavy moisture oft the soul may feel. 
When eyes are dry, and show no woes or fears ; 
For they, when lavishly abroad may deal 
The sun his fiercest beams, may still reveal 
Unshrinking vision, as they sternly gaze. 
It is the heraldic crest, which marks the seal 
Of true nobility, in troublous days. 
To fix on Duty's eye, through rough or fiery ways. 

VII. 

As in the sunny flight these tears arise. 
Keeping their form and beauty in the sky, 



THE DECK OF THE CRESCENT CITY. 79 

They are seen to glisten by the seraphs' eyes. 
Who hold continual ward in stations high. 
For to these seven sentries ceaselessly 
The holy charge from Heaven is assigned 
To watch for human tears with constancy, 
Since gems of more imperishable kind 
As signs of better life on earth they cannot find. 

VIII. 

These merciful, good angels, in their hands, 
Diffusing pearly light, these crystals seize, 
And with the glad alacrity which bands 
Ethereal use, fulfilling charities. 
They reach the place, where quiring harmonies 
Proclaim the glory of the King of Kings. 
They trembling kneel ; at once the melodies 
Of harp and voice are still ; alone there rings 
The richly rustling sound of many joining wings. 

IX. 

The silent angel-guards bend down their eyes, 
And bear upon a jewelled salver, wrought 
With precious skill, these moist resplendencies. 
Whose clear tongues plead to help man's bitter 
lot. 



80 THE DECK OF THE CRESCENT CITY. 

Would that to stainless beauty might be brought 
The germ divine of man, to dark descents 
Though fallen, yet living, undecayed to naught. 
As 'midst his errors, sins, and wrong intents 
These lucid points evince, these dewy arguments. 

Even if, to him who departs, a pall seems to 
invest all time ; if the silent depths of his soul 
are dark, and every face, to his distempered sight, 
answers the gloom of his ; if the cheers of the 
multitude sound like cries of agony, and the pant- 
ing of the mechanism like moans of pain, — still, 
far down in the gulf of the past, glimpses of 
home once happy may beam like stars, that shoot 
forth as stormy clouds sweep swiftly by them, to 
show that the tempest is broken, and to promise 
the morning on the sea, when the billows, playing 
in the softened breeze and splendor, shall lift 
towards the sun white crests of joy, and with 
their shining hands press on the ships, as if know- 
ing how much more blessed it is to help than to 
destroy. 

If he has caused a blight to fall upon any spirit, 
or has thrust away pure affections that strove to 
embrace him tenderly ; if through means of his 



THE DECK OF THE CRESCENT CITY. 81 

any face has grown daily more wan, and has 
finally paled wholly from the sight, that valued 
not the treasure ; if any child, to whom his care, 
and love should have been like dew and sunshine 
to the budding flower, has fled in terror from his 
glaring eye and frenzied hand ; if he has derided 
or used ungratefully any good of Providence or 
man, — still, now, the crisis of resolution may have 
awakened his dull spirit ; he may remember en- 
treaties to forgive impatience shown in bearing 
woes which he is conscious of having brought him- 
self, and the memory may assure him that a heart 
so tender as to crave pardon from one who griev- 
ously had wronged it, lacked not th^ grace to grant 
the boon it sought, and although it cannot now 
with living lips, yet in the full sunlight he may see 
bending upon him, from the far-ofi" sky, eyes 
which he once made to be dim with sorrow, or to 
look sadder from efibrts to restrain their flowing 
grief, but now beaming with forgiving hope, 
brighter than the sun. 

If his heart has been sorrowful so long that 
gladness, should it come, must express itself by 
sighs ; if his way has been made rough with diffi- 
culties by those, who, if he has failed to conquer 



82 THE DECK OF THE CRESCENT CITY. 

them, have scoffed at his ill success, or, if he has 
manfully trampled them down, have taken the 
praise of bringing out his energy by opposition ; 
if in his strenuous trials to gain a free scope for 
himself, hands have pressed or drawn him back, 
that should heartily have helped him forward ; if 
voices that should have inspired his will have ma- 
ligned his purposes and ways ; if far-sighted pru- 
dence, denounced as obstinacy, because defying 
hostile censure, and tenderly firm against friendly 
but blind persuasion, has in a fatal hour yielded 
to the united siege of enmity and love, and, after- 
wards, spent years of brokenness of spirit in 
mourning over thwarted aims, until those who ac- 
cepted submission with joy have seen too late their 
error, and hostile ones have treated compliance 
with their counsels more haughtily and contempt- 
uously than they had done resistance to them ; if 
this or that procedure has been recommended for 
pretended benefit, but really to cut the wings of a 
design that seemed about to cross the course of 
the adviser, though with no such intent ; if energy 
has first learned the consciousness of itself from 
seeing lips of scorn ; if in the house of friends 
wounds have been given that have chilled the fer- 



THE DECK OF THE CRESCEXT CITY. 83 

vor of life, and still charity, knowing that there 
■was no design to cut like swords, or to pierce like 
heated points of steel, has not accused, lest pangs 
should thrill through a heart, or tears bedew a 
face beloved ; whether or not reasons like these 
have cast their weight into the scale ; or, if life 
has hitherto passed happily ; if good-will has 
cheered the struggling path, and daily frowns 
have not made the hours sad ; if friendly hands 
have been prompt to promote worthy aims ; if the 
heart has been more pained by over-kind regard 
than by contumely or chilliness ; if sorrow has but 
deepened apd brightened the soul and the sight? 
made more manly the pressure of the foot, and 
depressed alone a haughty bearing of the head ; 
whether the mind refers to a more sunny or to 
a more cloudy past, hope is yet busy with the 
fibres of each heart, and teaching to some lips the 
song of a lighter and fairer future, to others of 
one less dark and sad. 

The eye now turns again to the journal, in 
which the editor shows 

How like the dew of Hermon 't is to see 
Both Ministers and Congressmen agree 



84 THE DECK OF THE CRESCENT CITY. 

In laboring to secure the public good 
More fervently than for their daily food ; 
And to their country showing all devotion, 
Without a thought of personal promotion. 

But a crowd of trunks make such confusion that 
these paradisiacal portraitures cannot be viewed 
with the serene and absorbing rapture which is 
due to the few memorials on earth of the reign of 
Saturn. It is natural that men should wish to 
keep trunks as far out of the way of harm, and as 
much under their eye, as they can ; for trunks are 
useful and pleasant travelling companions, not- 
withstanding inspectors of customs, who, it is 
gratifying to know, sometimes cut their fingers 
with glass ornaments, when searching for smug- 
gled silk or contraband lace. 

Ne'er is a man more at a loss to know 
What with himself to do, or where to go, 
Than when, amazed, his trunk he cannot find, 
With best and nearest goods and chattels lined. 

The most attractive objects then lose their en- 
chantment. Superb editions of the old poets, 
with clasps of silver guarding thoughts of gold ; 



THE DECK OF THE CRESCENT CITY. 85 

cathedrals, lighted and shaded by stained win- 
dows, having carved oaken choirs, pillars of choice 
marble, and floors of mosaic; illuminated man- 
uscripts, thronged with figures, stiff, but very 
brightly colored ; gorgeously panelled walls of 
palaces, and ceilings storied in fresco ; paintings 
of the old masters, or statuary of older or of 
later than they, ruling the spirit with sceptres of 
beauty ; matins and vespers breathing harmonies 
into the ears of the devout air ; lofty cypresses, 
making walls of verdure with masses of interlacing 
foliage ; operas fanning the senses with dramatic 
music ; — all these things are no more sources 
of delight to a man who has lost his trunk, than 
if their graces were under the lock of the recep- 
tacle which has gone, and whither the distracted 
student of the beautiful cannot divine. A man 
who has searched in vain to find his trunk cannot 
make his presence agreeable to himself anywhere. 
He may be proven to have lost his head, for he 
has been forsaken by his senses, those busy rep- 
resentatives, that, in their capitol, the brain, con- 
duct the affairs of their nervous constituencies. 
Whatever be the figure of this argument, or 
though it belong to none of the series, the man 



00 THE DECK OF THE CRESCENT CITY. 

knows his desolate figure, and the barbarous mode 
of his personaUty ; and if the terms be not duly 
distributed, he believes that his valuables, includ- 
mg letters dated at the heart, have been distrib- 
uted to the four corners of the earth, and to thou- 
sands of curious eyes. 

But if the premises be doubtful, the Archbishop 
of Dublin himself would allow the conclusion to 
be conclusive, if his Grace ever lost a portfolio 
in which was an Episcopal charge, which he had 
carefully prepared for a special occasion, of which 
he kept no copy, while his clergy, having waited 
in vain for its wisdom and logic to be dispensed to 
them, were at last compelled to accept a dispen- 
sation in the Papal sense, excusing them from 
attention. 

A man of weak nerves would be annoyed by 
arriving at the wharf just in season to see the 
steamer, with his goods sent beforehand safely 
on board, moving gracefully out of the bay, while 
his frantic cries " Stop ! stop ! " drowned by the 
cheers of the crowd, cannot retract a single revo- 
lution of the wheels. He ^vould be even less 
pleased to find, several hours after leaving port, 
that his most important trunk had been left be- 



THE DECK OF THE CRESCENT CITY. 87 

hind. The consciousness of personal security 
would be made by the loss of personal accompa- 
niments to increase, rather than allay, his agita- 
tion. Hence the general excitement about trunks 
will not be censured, however much it may for a 
time obstruct freedom of action, or damage indi- 
viduality, which last is an admirable quality for a 
hermitage, or for a rural retreat, but not for the 
deck of a steamer bound for the Isthmus, or for 
the hurrying world in general. Conglomeration 
rules the day, and let it have a fair field, to show 
its power for ill or for good, that men may return 
to the old path, or adopt the more excellent way. 
Probably none of the passengers are in peril of 
the archiepiscopal difficulty, for though each trunk 
may be the cause of as much commotion as any 
one of the official charges or discharges of his 
valiant Lordship, Henry of Exeter, it is not to 
be supposed that the trunks hold any charges, 
clerical or lay, beyond, it may be, in two or 
three, a few small bills, which in the hurry of 
departure there was no time to settle. 

The revolutions of the wheels of a steamship 
are examples of a kind of rotation in office, which, 
besides being needful for efficient progress, are un- 



OO THE DECK OF THE CRESCEXT CITY. 

like some otlier modes of that operation, in sel- 
dom causing bitter displeasure to any one, but 
rather hearty complacency to all parties con- 
cerned, though having some likeness in the way 
in which it is sustained, which is by keeping 
the steam well up, and by bringing all the forces 
within reach to bear upon the main shaft, or the 
main chance, as the case may be. Wheels are 
also revolvers, which steamships hold out, right 
and left, in fighting their way through the sea : 
and these now revolve half around and then back, 
ending their endeavors, like people whose activ- 
ity of design excels firmness of will, in a mere 
fuss of foam and commotion. The machinery 
puffs and groans for its proper sphere of exertion, 
like the energies of a statesman, who longs to be 
kicking at foreign nations and at domestic ene- 
mies, but who is restrained from such ministration 
by the electoral chain of a want of votes ; if, 
indeed, any thing so positive as a chain-cable can 
be compared to an absolute negation. The state- 
ly funnel towers over the ship with a kind of Sa- 
tanic fascination, as if it would inspire some pre- 
cipitate person to climb to the black summit of 
the cylinder like a squirrel, and then to dive 



THE DECK OF THE CRESCENT CITY. 89 

down into its smoking recesses, merely to see 
where, amongst the eompHcated machinery, his 
" dark descent " w^ould be stopped, the adventurer 
not thinking that his exploit might prove to be as 
disastrous as an appeal to a Court of Equity, of 
which it is generally true, that it is much easier 
to get in than to get out. 

The tones of bells have an apostolical character, 
for their significance is so various, that they may 
be said to become all things to all men, that they 
may gain the ears of some. They express every 
note in the gamut of human emotion, from the 
low moan of despair to the high ecstasy of hope. 
There are bells for births, for the house of mourn- 
ing, and for the marriage-feast. Peels, knells, and 
chimes proclaim the trinity of man's life on earth, 
joy, sorrow, and devotion, for all men worship 
something, and the object of their homage has 
its proper music. There are bells that toll the 
watches of the night, that usher in the dawn, that 
announce every hour of the sun's march, and of 
evening bells poetry is full. Bells declare victo- 
ries, and the anniversaries of great deeds. There 
are bells of terror, which signify fires, earth- 



90 THE DECK OF THE CRESCENT CITY. 

quakes, and the approaches of enemies ; Protes- 
tant bells, that ring vehemently like perpetual 
memorials of Luther's voice, and Catholic bells, 
"which are seldom rung, but which are struck 
incessantly, making glad the faithful and annoy- 
ing the faithless ; glad and vociferous bells, which 
proclaim the birth of an heir to an imperial crown, 
and soft, deceptive bells, which give the signal 
for Sicilian vespers ; bells that strike six of a 
dark, icy morning in winter, irritating collegians, 
and bells that strike one of a summer midnight, 
to the meditative torture of Dr. Young, and to 
the more lamentable torture of English verse in 
the way of sentimental crudities, sickly fancies, 
and the vagaries of spasmodic piety on stilts ; 
bells that hurry travellers to the cars, and warn 
deaf people to beware of the crossings of engines ; 
bells that call passengers in a steamboat to the 
captain's office to settle their fares, and more 
pleasant bells which summon them to the table 
for supper ; and bells like this one, advising 
people who have come on board to take leave of 
friends, that they will do wisely to retire soon, if 
they wish not to find themselves on the way to 
Chagres, with no preparations for crossing the 



THE DECK OF THE CRESCENT CITY. 91 

Isthmus in the rainy season, and with not even a 
spurious ticket for the passage between Panama 
and San Francisco. Farewells, attended by a 
guard of good wishes and kind hopes, issue from 
the lips ; and hands give and return an earnest 
pressure. About the parting words may play an 
almost merry liveliness, which proves sincerity 
better than a studied endeavor to look suitably 
sad, which usually succeeds in looking very un- 
gracious and sour. Regret at losing the presence 
of a friend may be blended with enjoyment of it, 
growing more intense as every moment shortens 
it, and the fervor of the spirit may be expressed 
in this divided way ; or, to return to bells, as the 
tones of a bell sound wonderfully pure, reach far, 
and endure long, when a dampness pervades the 
air, so pleasantries of speech, struck from hearts 
moist with sensibility, ring clear and make music 
long after in the ears of him that goes and of 
him that stays ; and parting smiles are among the 
brightest treasures of the memory, for they throw 
over after hours a beautiful and cheering halo of 
light. 

The last friend has walked the plank from the 
deck to the pier ; the steam discharges bullets of 



92 THE DECK OF THE CRESCENT CITY. 

sound, which pierce the ears, and mingle with the 
general concert of puffing, roaring, and shouting 
noises ; the Avheels begin to revolve with more de- 
termination : one is forced to consider the victo- 
ries of the usurper, steam ; as, how many coaches 
have run their last stage, and overturned their 
impatient passengers into rapid cars ; how many 
bluff and merry Saxon drivers have yielded place 
to precise and polite Latin conductors ; how 
neighboring States, unmindful of the Apostolic 
precept, have diUgently rendered raihng for rail- 
ing to secure Canadian trade, or for some other 
purpose equally excellent ; in short, how fast the 
world with all that it contains is coming under the 
dominion of the Prince of the Power of the Air : 
and one conjectures whether other kinds of con- 
veyance may not soon be managed by steam, 
whether real estates, which have been ahenated 
sometimes by the fumes of alcohol, may not be 
conveyed by steam proper, in which case they 
would not be perplexed with a long retinue of 
contingent remainders ; for steam never has any 
contingent remainders, except when two trains of 
cars, going at the rate of fifty miles an hour, sud- 
denly meet on the same track, to shake hands 



THE DECK OF THE CRESCENT CITY. 93 

and ask the price of stocks. If there be any 
niche in the Temple of Invention yet unoccupied, 
it must be in reserre for the blessed individual 
who shall successfully apply steam to suits in 
chancery, so that an estate may pass through 
that long tract of country, without being detained 
too long in the green pastures of luxurious fees, 
or being locked up for too many years in the 
terrible dungeons of a snivelling chancellor's 
doubts. 

The steamer being now on the point of depart- 
ure, while hats, hands, and handkerchiefs wave 
together in the air, a young man, of commanding 
figure and of bold but not unbecoming manners, a 
"• Bowery boy," stands upon the upper deck at the 
stern of the ship, beneath the floating banner of 
his country. Waving first his hat and then his 
handkerchief, he addresses the people on shore 
with a loud and searching voice. His precise 
words cannot be reported, but there is no doubt 
that they were of the following import. 

" Fellow-citizens, we are bound for Cahfornia, 
where there is gold enough and plenty of it. But 
we are not going altogether for that. We hope 
to enjoy ourselves in a new country. Still, for 



94 THE DECK or THE CRESCENT CITY. 

my part, I am willing to say, that I mean to re- 
turn to New York with the biggest piece of what 
was once Mexico that I can dig out of the earth, 
carry in my hat to the shore (hat in my hand, 
my good friends), and bring home in my trunk. I 
assure you, my particular friends, as you all are, 
that I have no harder wish for any of you than 
that you may all come out in the next steamer, 
and do the same likewise. Fellow-citizens, it is 
peculiarly proper to consider at such a time as 
this the glory of our country. No nation now on 
earth holds her head so high as ours, and no one 
has so good a right to do so. Two wars, the 
Crystal Palace, and Colhns's line, have proved to 
the satisfaction of every body, that we have now 
beaten England and the rest of mankind in all the 
elements, — land, water, steam, and machinery. 
Now, fellow-citizens, the golden rule of our re- 
publican system is, as you have all been instruct- 
ed from childhood, that we should do honor to 
those who do honor to us. That is Republican- 
ism, or it is nothing, and our history will show 
that, in all cases, this rule has been invariably 
obeyed. The fact is, that for our country to 
honor those who honor her is one of our great and 



THE DECK OF THE CRESCENT CITY. 95 

glorious and free institutions, which we are bound 
to respect, love, cherish, and obey till death us do 
part, and so forth, as the Westminster Catechism 
says. That being the case, suffer me to make a 
suggestion. We all hope, of course, that the 
prince of exhibitors, before he closes his show for 
the last time (and long may it be before he does), 
— I thank j^ou for applauding that sentiment, — 
we all hope, that he will be the governor of his 
inventive commonwealth. Let me also advise that 
the contriver of the famous yacht be chosen Pres- 
ident by the unanimous vote of the people ; and 
let the inventor of the reaping-machine, who de- 
serves, as all admit, a first-rate place in the hearts 
of every body, let him be President of the Senate. 
He would gather the grain of public afiairs, and 
sift it, to some purpose. Let the man who picked 
Braham's locks decide questions of order as 
Speaker of the House ; and, finally, let the in- 
ventor of six-barrelled revolvers be Secretary of 
State. Our country couM then face her enemies 
and go ahead with a will. I am told that the 
picker of locks is a Boston boy, and my literary 
friends — of whom I am happy to say that I have 
a large number — assure me that the genius of 



96 THE DECK OF THE CRESCENT CITY. 

the place, as it is called in some old-fasliioned 
language or other, is so marked, that 

Boston young women, on the verge of twenty, 
Having of sciences a fearful jlilenty, 
The mystic stores of German lore expanding, 
Can pick the Locke on Human Understanding, 

and make it worthless in five minutes. 

" But let me not wander from my subject, lest 
I err as much as a reverend scholar might do, 
who, in addressing a Uterary society on the 
American Mind, should discourse at length upon 
Wat Tyler's rebellion, when a few brief remarks 
upon President John Tyler's administration would 
be more directly to the point. What has Wat 
Tyler ever done to develop the American Mind ? 
He never annexed Texas, or, as the result of that, 
the Pacific Ocean. To return, fellow-citizens, let 
me again exhort you to follow our example, and 
join our enterprise as soon as you can conven- 
iently, and sooner, if possible ; but at any rate, 
wherever we go or wherever we stay, whatever 
we do or whatever we don't do, let us never for- 
get to remember the American flag and the Amer- 
ican eagle ; and may the first see more and more 



THE DECK OF THE CRESCEXT CITY. 97 

stars, every year, and the last grow larger and 
larger, and his eyes brighter, and his claws 
sharper, and his shout louder, as long as we live, 
and for a long time afterwards. The greatest 
man that ever lived is reported to have said at 
Cambridge, when the Yankee College there made 
him a Doctor of Laws, for his skilful surgery 
upon the body politic, and by way of diplomatic 
sanction for his doing more of the same sort, — this 
man, in acknowledging the degree conferred upon 
him, as it is said, using the same energy of voice 
with which he declared that the deposits should be- 
removed from the jaws of the Monster, spoke as 
follows : ' E pluribus unum. Palmam qui meruit 
ferat. Pro bono publico. Amen.' These affecting, 
original, and patriotic remarks are said to be pros- 
pectively prophetical, and to mean, as I am told 
by people who understand the English language 
when expressed in Latin words, that this whole 
continent belongs to us, by right, desert, and the 
general welfare, and that the sooner we have it 
in our power in any way, but the best way if we 
can, the better it will be for all the parties con- 
cerned. Fellow-citizens, in bidding you good by, 
until we meet again, allow me to observe that the 

7 



\)o THE DECK OF THE CRESCENT CITY. 

sentiment quoted was not only a good, Christian 
sentiment, that deserved an Amen, but also a 
patriotic one, entitled to three cheers." 

As the steamer began to move forward, before 
these last words had fairly left the lips of the 
speaker, the cheers which heartily arose from the 
ship and the pier may have been the exchange of 
spontaneous good-will between the passengers and 
spectators generally, and not a special answer to 
the ingenious thought which closed the harangue. 
The speaker, seeing his audience fast receding 
from him, joined vociferously in the cheers, 
again waving his hat and handkerchief by turns. 
At last he put his hat on his head and his hand- 
kerchief in his pocket ; but had he reversed this 
order, he would not have acted altogether without 
that first requisite for scrupulous men, — a pre- 
cedent ; for, not long ago, the heir of the an- 
cient and noble house of Derby, in ascending the 
Andes, at the worst season of the year, and 
quicker than was ever known before, except by a 
special express in times of revolution, as if the 
injunction, " On, Stanley, on ! " directly referred 
to himself, this gentleman, who, if ever called to 
share in the government of his country, cannot 



THE DECK OF THE CEESCEXT CITY. 99 

be blamed for official neglect, if he shall con- 
duct public afiairs with the same expedition and 
strength which he showed in that surprising 
journey, — this young, manly, and enterprising 
statesman, finding the wind to be very boisterous 
in the passage of Chimborazo, making his hat 
unmanageable, put it in his pocket ; so that, if the 
Bowery boy had done the same, he would have 
followed an illustrious example ; but, with a due 
regard for final causes, he put it upon his head, 
and then looked about him with an air of re- 
served energy and decision, as if bent upon ad- 
vancing the greatness and glory of his country by 
every way in his power, and, on his private ac- 
count, of despatching any one who should dare to 
insult him upon that never more than ten days' 
journey to obscurity, commonly called sending a 
man into the middle of next week, — a mode of 
propulsion, however, which, it is said upon good 
scientific authority, would distract all the doctors 
and students of a Dutch university for seventy- 
two successive hours, in arguing that by the sci- 
ence of dynamics no such thing could be done. 

Among the crowd of cheering spectators may 
be some relatives, who count with rapture upon 



100 THE DECK OF THE CRESCENT CITY. 

4 

the affluence of returning fathers, sons, brothers, 
or cousins ; and, in some cases, there may be an 
incipient jealousy, consistent with kind wishes, lest 
departing ones may return so glorified and exalted 
by Californian success, as to eclipse the less splen- 
did efforts of others. There may be a ground for 
such good-natured jealousy, 

For there is seldom known at once to be 
More than one lion in a family. 

Fears and hopes, tears and smiles, faithful affec- 
tions and fervent blessings, may lie underneath 
the uproar of those who have come from curiosity 
mainly to see another steamship depart for Cha- 
gres. 

The day is bright ; and thus favored by a pleas- 
ant sky, and by loud and hearty benedictions, the 
steamer proceeds ; the people on shore watch 
eagerly the graceful motion seaward of the noble 
vessel ; and the passengers, standing upon the up- 
per deck, look no less intently upon the receding 
city. Hardly a mile has been passed over, when 
the wheels suddenly cease to revolve; and, to 
the general amazement, anchor is dropped about 
two thousand miles from the place where it might 



THE DECK OF THE CRESCENT CITY. 101 

have been thought, five minutes before, that it 
Tvould strike its flukes into the ground. The pas- 
sengers are with good reason confounded. Those 
who are strangers from the country may be less 
confounded than the rest, from thinking that the 
rushing chain at the bows may be simply a part 
of the machinery ; and so it is, but not of the 
motive kind. The clerk soon appears upon deck, 
and in the cabins, politely informing passengers 
that they can go ashore until the next morning, 
as some portion of the machinery labors, and 
needs to be set right. 

The ship had been performing the nautical 
gymnastics, called pausing on the centre, which 
means, that, instead of moving on her way with 
even tenor, she stopped to take breath at every 
revolution of the wheels, before taking another 
leap forward into the waves, a movement well 
enough for those who like it, when the sea is 
smooth, but suggestive of nervous apprehensions 
in a furious gale ; for should a steamship, at such 
a time, when crossing two huge billows, pause too 
long on the centre, the whole establishment might 
suddenly divide, leaving the captain, oflScers, pas- 
sengers, crew, and all hands generally, to go in 



102 THE DECK OF THE CRESCENT CITY. 

different directions, and neither of them towards 
Chagres, or any place inhabited by living men, 
and with but one engine between them, and that 
going down as fast as it can, to pause upon the 
centre of gravitation for some ages, perhaps to 
aid in convoying some of the ships, which, like 
spirits that once breathed the upper air, move in 
silent, dreary circles on the black, breathless, 
waveless deep, while their spectral crews keep 
their unbroken watch below\ 

This accident not only detains the ship, but 
forces the narration itself to cast anchor, and the 
reflections upon the beautiful bay of New York 
are of course deferred to a more convenient occa- 
sion. But a writer's purpose should overcome 
harder mischances than this, for, if all the intimi- 
dations of literary history cannot turn him aside, 
he ought not to mind being so suddenly brought 
to a stand. Let not this unlooked for and per- 
plexing detention cause longer delay than is need- 
ful to decide what can be done. The passengers 
have nearly all obeyed the clerk's polite invitation 
to go ashore, and the city, seen to be surrounded 
by the tall masts of ships, suggests the use of 
those convenient contrivances as figures of speech, 



THE DECK OF THE CRESCEXT CITY. 103 

in which respect they have been of good service, 
since timber was first made to float ; for the Ark, 
of blessed memory, not only saved what was 
worth saving at an important period of human 
history, but a timely resort to it as a figure of 
speech has saved many an orator from metaphor- 
ical drowning, at a rhetorical crisis. 

The city is a sea of lives freighted 

In transient vessels to make voyages 

From time's decaying shore to those vast ports 

Where all arrivers find fast anchorage. 

To that strange land, whose capes reach out so 

far, 
That some barks gain their destination soon, 
While the deep bays withdraw their shelving sands 
So far inland, that others press the sea, 
Ere they are harbored, more than fourscore years. 
Launched on the wave of life the little boat 
Moves tremulous, as though a ruder touch 
Of the new billows would break up its frame ; 
Full oft it does ; and then the tender frigate 
Launches, in turn, the memory of its voyage 
Upon a flood of tears ; or, if more blest, 
Or less, for this no foresight can resolve, 



104 THE DECK OF THE CRESCENT CITY. 

The bark shall conquer the great, breaking sea, 
Expanding shapely comeliness it glides 
Before the vigorous pressure of the wind. 
Which breathes odorous sweetness from the banks, 
Where youth and hope their bowers of beauty build. 
Thus may two ships, one more by vigor marked, 
And the other more by gracefulness of form. 
From diverse ports proceeding, near approach 
Each other, wafted by the generous gale 
Of love reciprocal, thence on life's course 
To advance through storm or sunshine, side by 

side, 
Until one strikes upon the mystic shore. 
Whence can no mortal keel remove, and then 
The one deprived in loneliness goes on, 
Until it gains the limit of its course. 

These voyagers are variously equipped 
For their swift courses on existence' sea ; 
Some, spreading sunny sails of texture strong, 
Court the affluent winds, and move o'er shining 

waves. 
That feel exhilarating airs alone. 
While each sail met bends in sweet courtesy 
To these fine ships, so bounteously supplied 



THE DECK OF THE CRESCENT CITY. 105 

With every cabin luxury of life ; 
Others, with canvas torn, meagre, too thin 
For stress of storms, prevail not on the breezes 
To waft them kindly on, but are exposed 
To cruel, shifting gales, which swell the sea, 
Until it beats and roars ; o'er billows hard 
They wander, roughly pushed, appointed ill, 
Neglected, unsaluted, and condemned 
To stifle want with short allowances 
And musty bread. 

Some are of timbers old. 
Battered by storms, made tough by service hard, 
Oft bending to the gale, yet not o'erthrown, 
In gentle weather easy and benign. 
Of stiff resistance in dark peril's hour ; 
Others no strain have felt of tempests rough. 
And, in smooth waters gliding, can maintain 
An amiable mien, enchanting all 
To see them bear so gracefully along 
So much delight and love ; yet broken ships 
With tattered sails there are, which grieve the 

sight. 
And yet which would as amiable appear 
As any that adorn life's pleasant sea. 
If they had not had conflicts rude to bear 



106 THE DECK OF THE CRESCEXT CITY. 

With angry skies, sharp hghtnings, and the host 
Of troubles that molest the human heart. 
When airs are balmy, and the seas are smooth. 
It easy is to be of nature sweet 
That is alone true amiability, 
Which stands the test of penury and pain. 
See others fluttering with bright streamers gay, 
Making of life a constant holiday. 

Some lend to others prompt, becoming aid, 
In times of sorrow and of utmost need, 
"With wholesome plenty filling scant supplies. 
Lending new sails, or stopping dismal leaks 
Of poverty or wrong ; others with scorn. 
Provided well themselves, pass swiftly by 
Their broken neighbors, taking notice none. 
Or with bland, simpering words that nothing mean, 
And less bring forth, answ^ering their conscience' 

call. 
Another, far from helping in distress. 
Withholding e'en cheap verbal comfort, looks 
With eager sight, where'er a tidy ship 
With a good cargo laden homeward speeds. 
And then, making quick sail, bears down at once 
Upon the modest bark, and breaks it up, 



THE DECK OF THE CRESCENT CITY. 107 

And, the good cargo shifting to its hold. 

Leaves the poor injured ship to sink or float 

O'er wayward waves, the toil of patient years 

Lost in collision with rich insolence, 

And earninors small o:one to increase the wealth 

Of one who should have spared, not taken more ; 

And then, the haughty vessel sailing on. 

As it beholds another like itself, 

Congratulating signals gives and takes 

For the shrewd deed, as though it were as good 

As an archangel would rejoice to do. 

And not such as should make a devil blush. 

Look also on those ships, famed for exploits 

On war's rough ocean, or on smoother waves 

Of policy. How gracefully upon their course. 

Lined with great throngs of cheering sails, they 

go, 
Bending complacent bows to all around. 
But most complacent ones to those dear crafts, 
That cast for anchors votes. 

Still other ships, 
Manned by the loving goodnesses of hfe. 
Make it their aim to go in search of wrecks ; 
And many wrecks there are, to move the heart, — 
The wrecks of hope, pondering in still despair, 



108 THE DECK OF THE CRESCENT CITY. 

The wrecks of wealth and shattered competence, 

Injustice suffering or the wages hard 

Of former arrogance in plenteous days, 

The wrecks of health, weak, shapeless, and forlorn, 

The wrecks of honor, firm no more and true. 

Leaving the straight course of integrity. 

The wrecks of mind, wandering they know not 

where. 
By winds disordered on disordered seas. 
With compass all distracted in its points. 
The wrecks of love sincere, but cast aside 
By those unworthy of its blessedness, 
Gloving disconsolate in disarray 
With aimless fancies upon aimless waves. 
On billows glaring with deceptive light 
Are found the saddest wrecks of all, the wrecks 
Of rosy beauty turned to ruddy shame, 
And whitening then to die. 

Whene'er these barks 
Reach where on stormy waves these wrecks are 

seen. 
The careful watch on deck the signal give. 
And instantly with charity's commotion 
Are all on board alive ; the boats let down, 
Furnished with ready succor, briefly wait, 



THE DECK OE THE CRESCENT CITY. 109 

And the eager crew need no command to press 
Where the wreck struggles in complete distress, 
Which, when they reach, with hastening hands 

they seek 
To bend new sails, to bind the splintered spars, 
To stop the yawning leaks or ply the pumps, 
To fix the unhinged rudder, or to set 
The mind's chronometer that leads astray. 
Or to supply celestial quadrants good. 
Which, through the lenses strong of faith and 

hope. 
Enable human souls to see how high 
The Sun of grace has risen on their course ; 
To famished inmates is provided food ; 
The broken ships to harbors snug are led. 
Until again ready to plough the sea. 
With best directions from the heavenly chart. 
Or to abide secure till reason's ray 
Shall shine again, when breaks immortal day. 
After such offices of good are done. 
The charitable ones in silence go 
Back to their ships, chartered by love sincere, 
Freighted with blessings, wafted by the gales 
Which blow directly from the pearly gate 
Of Paradise upon man's suffering state. 



110 THE DECK OF THE CRESCENT CITY. 

See at its final port a ship arrive, 
After long wrestling with the storms of life ; 
The shrouds and braces where the tempest howled 
Are now transformed to chords where music 

breathes 
Of heavenly origin, which soothes and cheers 
The last, declining period of the voyage ; 
The faithful anchor hangs upon the bows, 
A refuge oft before from drifting winds. 
And ready to hold fast the stately bark, 
When it has reached the narrow strand that severs 
Time from Eternity, that it may stand 
Fearless in that dread hour of mortal change, 
Until the angelic lighter from the shore 
Of endless time draws near to take the freight. 
And store it in the treasury of God. 
For every mortal vessel bears a freight 
Precious indeed, which cost a Prince's life 
To save it from destruction ; this gem divine, 
With fadeless life endowed, burnished with care 
By the celestial graver's patient skill, 
Changes the grossness of its human stains 
For the far-shining beauty of the skies ; 
But, ere this end be reached, hard discipHne 
The costly jewel needs ; and many a stroke 



THE DECK OF THE CRESCENT CITY. Ill 

To it is given, which seems as it would break, 
Not cleanse, the gem, yet, w^hen the dust of grief 
Is by the graver gently breathed away, 
Where were the strokes most hard and frequent, 

there 
Are left the brightest places in the gem. 
This rich freight incorruptible is borne 
To its sure house of shelter, wiiile is left 
The hulk behind, victim of quick decay, 
Till, by a w^ord, transformed in every part, 
With amaranthine signals, from its bows 
And floating at the peak, the spirit-ship, 
Again receiving its resplendent freight. 
With pure, white sails of heavenly love and joy, 
Soft, fragrant breezes from the blessed isles, 
And frame constructed of the Tree of life. 
Shall glide serenely with immortal pace 
O'er crystal seas of glory and of grace. 

On the next morning the Crescent City is not 
yet in order to go, or the rest of Sunday is re- 
spected, that she may begin her voyage w^ith the 
secular week. A fresh October wind, coming a 
month before its time, has cleared the air, the 
waters of the bay are beautifully bright, and 



112 THE DECK OF THE CRESCENT CITY. 

every thing about looks calm and peaceful, as 
becomes the hallowed season. 

The holy concord of religious bells 

Now through the city sounds, calling to prayer. 

Each spire and tower becomes a beacon, where 

The sentinel in brazen armor clad, 

Catching the signal from his neighbor's tongue. 

Bears with his own the sacred message on, 

To summon men to gain by humble prayer 

Strength to resist their spiritual foes. 

The various temples w^here dismembered Truth 

Sighs for recovery of its lost estate 

Of unity on earth, receive the throngs 

Who heed the summons of the sacred day, 

While greater throngs disdain the blessed sound. 

In consecrated structures there is heard 
The language old, in which were heralded 
The orders which the subject world obeyed. 
But which, transferred to Christian usages 
And redolent of saintly fragrances 
Of centuries, and of as many fears 
And woes and wrongs, in holy anthems rolls, 
While are some faithful souls borne on their course 



THE DECK OF THE CRESCENT CITY. 113 

Towards heavenly crowns in Roman chariots. 
The liturgies that nerve the Saxon tongue 
With words of grace there bend and lift by turns 
The waiting heart, memorials dear of her 
Enthroned where Thames and cultured Isis 

glide, 
The world's best shrine in days of doubt and 

gloom, 
And the chief germ divine, from which shall 

grow 
The Empire-Church to rule and bless the earth, 
Crowned now with beauty, as when sighing Faith, 
From the corrupt Ark flying, sought and found 
Within her shades the olive-yards of rest. 

Yet whate'er shapes sincere devotion takes. 
If from hearts lowly coming, prayers ascend 
As an angelic concourse to the skies. 
And find a hearing at God's ready throne. 
The humblest head that bows itself unseen 
May from its lips send messengers of prayer, 
Which upward speed upon their hallowed flight, 
Like the swift beams of the Sun's eastern light ; 
While many a full response, sonorous, clear. 
May fail to reach the Almighty's open ear. 

8 



114 THE DECK OF THE CRESCENT CITY. 

So this invisible and suppliant throng 

Rise up together towards heaven's pearly gate. 

If any are more buoyant than the rest. 

They may be those that issue from the hearts 

Of weather-beaten mariners in port, 

Wlio in the floating chapel bend the knee, 

While the soft undulation of the sea 

Answers to the liturgic waves within 

Of praise and supplication ; and if any 

Slower ascend, they may be some that rise 

From marble walls, by imitative spires. 

Too much encumbered to spring up with ease. 

Stiff w^ith brocade, laden with gems and gold. 

See, from the tallest spire the sacred Cross 
Glows in the sun, projected on the sky 
Like the blest sign that greeted Constantine, 
Telling to men of Him who died thereon. 
To make by pains and tears a path to heaven. 
While rival empires hasten to decay. 
And pales the wisdom sages teach and learn, 
One sentence still shall far outshine the day, 
And faintino; men to livino!; waters turn : 
" Behold the Lamb of God, that takes away 
The world's sin " ; no brave conqueror's flashing 
sword. 



THE DECK OF THE CRESCENT CITY. 115 

No armies, navies, no strong castle's might, 

Such hope and help to weary souls afford 

As gleam and guide from out those words of light. 

They surest mount to reach the eternal skies. 

Who humblest learn how low on earth they are ; 

They first behold the glorious Sun arise. 

Who keep the vigils of the eastern star. 

After the shadows of Sunday have deepened 
into night, and that again, hours ago, has retreat- 
ed before the dawn of Monday, which ushers the 
world upon its busy race, boats are seen hastening 
from the Battery with passengers, to challenge 
the ship to stay no longer at her anchorage. The 
preparations at last are over, and she breathes 
more freely from her iron lungs, those stout respi- 
rators, that bear any climate and any wind, and 
which are less likely to suffer a fatal congestion 
in the chilly North and East, than between the 
flowery banks of the Mississippi. The anchor 
obeys the persuasive chain, that draws it hastily 
and gayly from its place of rest, and the '' Cres- 
cent City," upon the imaginary deck of which 
these foregoing speculations have been made, 
springs upon her course, while more practical 



116 THE DECK OF THE CRESCENT CITY. 

Speculations, as the world will deem them, float 
busily in many minds. It is the first part of Sep- 
tember, and the islands near by are yet bright 
and green with the lingering loveliness of summer ; 
mansions border the waters, or rise upon gentle 
heights ; open fields glisten with verdure ; towns 
grow into cities wellnigh as fast as the harvest 
ripens from the seed ; institutions of charity are 
built upon fair and salubrious spots, as though 
the sight and health of the poor were not to be 
disregarded ; establishments by the water-side af- 
ford relief for sojourners from the city's dust and 
heat; ships arrive laden with cargoes from all 
lands and with living crowds from the Old World's 
destitution, or go forth with full and eager sails 
for ports in distant seas; the substantial light- 
ship, the blessing of the coast, sways at her fast 
anchorage, ready to guide and delight the mariner, 
as he approaches home, and not to be passed with- 
out a benediction, by day or by night, and wheth- 
er kissed by the breezes of summer, or bleached 
by the mantles of winter. Groups of people 
watch the progress of the ship, and with voices 
and hands signify their interest and pleasure. 
No signs of lordly splendor meet the sight, and 



THE DECK OF THE CRESCENT CITY. 117 

the bays of Italy may be spanned by serener 
skies, yet the bay of New York is among the 
glories of the globe. Nature for three seasons is 
beautiful, and even winter, beneath the clear cold 
and sunlight, assumes an ermine softness set off 
Avith diamond briUiancy. Proofs of thrift and 
care are upon every side, as though all were 
agreed to make the land a paradise of industry. 
The criminal, shut out from the sympathies of dai- 
ly life, is not denied the invigorating breeze, and 
a view of the broad sky. And those whose gates 
of reason are closed, to whom the melodies of 
nature are discords, and the land and the sea 
without order and beauty, may summon their army 
of fantastic images in a pure air, and may array 
in incongruous shapes the clouds and the stars ; 
the moving ship may be at times as pleasing an 
object in their discordant world as it is in this, 
and the sight and sound of active humanity may 
revive happy glimpses of memory, and move the 
heart with natural gladness, though at long inter- 
vals only between mournful periods of vacancy 
and gloom ; sometimes the bird, singing from 
island to island, may strike an answering note in 
their discordant minds, and touch, though but for 



118 THE DECK OF THE CRESCENT CITY. 

an instant, the disused keys of sane thought and 
emotion, which were wont, in other days, to send 
music through the recesses of the soul. 

The city is hidden from view, the Kghthouses 
are passed, and the land grows slowly dim in the 
distance ; for not even the power of steam can 
avail to leave it so soon behind as not to permit 
many a look upon lessening shapes and dissolving 
colors. God bless the voyage ! 



NOTES 



To page 37. Mr. Newman, in a note to one of his powerful 
and, in many points, admirable " Sermons on Subjects of the 
Day," spoke as follows of the then recent establishment of 
the Episcopate at Jerusalem by united England and Prussia : 
^' May that measure utterly fail and come to naught, and be 
as though it had never been ! " May the reverend head of the 
Catholic University of Ireland live to be endowed, besides 
his rare mental gifts, with a spirit of deeper insight, so as to 
see the divine capacities of the Church which he has forsaken, 
and to '• bless and curse not " the most enlightened and mo- 
mentous Christian act of this age, as it may be acknowledged 
by all to be, when the humble missionary station becomes the 
metropolitan throne of reformed and united Christendom. 

To page .58. If this concluding sentence should seem to 
require a complement, it may be in point to say, that, should 
there ever be another Shakspeare, and should he describe 
another Hamlet, he might Avith poetical justice represent him 
as a man of intellectual aspiiations pent up somewliere in the 
New World, surrounded by its array of influences unfavorable 
to mental freedom, close by a steam-engine, engaged night and 
day in making " patent double-million magnifyin' gas micro- 
scopes of hextra power " for a " great country " to see its mar- 
vellous perfections through, or near a University, compensat- 
ing for being profoundly obsequious towards 'writers from 
abroad of acknovvledged worth and power, by being in the 
main equally derisive towards those at its side, who persist in 
intellectual aims, in the face of such partial countenance. The 
stupid Polonius, whether a royal or an academical councillor, 
whether an adept in the fine phrases of his mother-tongue or of 
a dead language, will ever regard as insane vagaries the strug- 
gles of an imprisoned spirit panting for light and air Ameri- 
ca deliberately poisons the graces and sublimities of life, to en- 
joy without reserve the lust of power and the embraces of inate- 
rial good ; and while her murderous disposition remains, she 
has no right to be surprised, if those of her sons who resist the 
tide that would drag them from high designs to the miry waters 



120 NOTES. 



of an immature and unnatural civilization, feel that they are 
unjustly disregarded, and sometimes find their loyalty, which 
they would like to cherish, changing, despite their will and 
effort, from a hearty sentiment to one of duty and accident 
alone. The love of country is correlative. A false measure 
of civilization must of course be superseded in due time, at 
whatever risk of convulsion ; and in the hour of peril, entreaty 
may take the place of disdain. Mental immunities cannot be 
outraged and set at naught for ever, and they usually find a 
defender, when the time is ripe. The filial spirit of man will, 
sooner or later, heed the visitation, which in the white robes of 
eternity, and in " the majesty of buried " truth and beauty, 
with armor of celestial steel and arrows pointed with celestial 
fire, requires, in a plaintive but immortal voice, the vindication, 
at any hazard, of the rights of the soul. The shackles of a 
material dispensation may for a while depress, but they cannot 
destroy the undying life, which, though pining and withering in 
its bondage, must one day awake and turn the cheeks of scorn- 
ers pale, and their sneers into cries for mercy. Empires hare 
been established by the sword, in the place of decayed dynas- 
ties ; the pen may prove to be equally mighty in dethroning 
false divinities. 

To page 87. It would not be fair thus to allude to the ec- 
centric energy of the Bishop of Exeter, without adding a word 
of cordial praise for his zeal in behalf of the organic prerogatives 
of the Church of England. May that Church have the grace 
to heed the summons of the familiar hymn, which could not 
be more appropriate, had it been expressly written as an appeal 
to revive the rights of Convocation ; and may the hope be 
none the less significant for coming from the capital of Puri- 
tan polity ! 

" Triumphant Zion ! lift thy head 
From dust and darkness, and the dead ; 
Though humbled long, awake at length, 
And gird thee with thy Saviour's strength. 

'' Put all thy beauteous garments on, 
And let ihy excellence be known ; 
Decked in ihe rol)es of righieonsness, 
The world thy glories shall confess. 

" No more shall foes unclean invade, 
And fill thy hallowed walls with dread: 
No more shall hell's insulting host 
Their victory and thy sorrows boast. 

" God from on high has heard thy prayer; 
His hand thy ruin shall repair ; 
Nor will thy watchful Monarch cease 
To guard thee in eternal peace." 





*'i^_ 



i%.V^4. 



^f^y^^